Title in English
'In Captivity' - poems from internment
This is the story of my great uncle, Cecil Duncan-Jones. He was born in 1883 and was originally from London. Unlike his elder brother, he did not attend university but pursued a life as an actor, poet and novelist. He was tall, dark and handsome and although he struggled a little for money, he loved acting and had played the Duke of Orleans in Henry V.
In 1914 he was in Alsace Lorraine recovering from an operation when the war broke out. He was among many British nationals caught out by the start of the war and was taken, along with 600 others, to a camp at Ruhleben near Berlin. During his captivity, he continued to adapt and put on plays, he also wrote a volume of poetry entitled 'In Captivity'.
By the spring of 1918, he was still in the internment camp but his health was deteriorating due to malnourishment. He was therefore discharged and allowed to travel to Holland (near the Hague), hoping to get to England on an ambulance convoy.
A letter to his aunt Millie (on his mother's side) written on 15th October 1918 described living in hotels as it was more economical and his dramatic interests keeping his spirits up. By this time, his health had deteriorated further and his gums were bleeding. He managed to leave Holland on the last ambulance ship but he was very ill and he died, soon after his return, on 10th November 1918.
Summary description of items
A portrait of Cecil Duncan-Jones in charcoal, drawn by a friend;
a typescript copy of his book of poems written in captivity;
copies of his letters.