|Birth Day:||January 23, 1922|
|Death Date:||Nov 16, 2007 (age 85)|
As per our current Database, Vernon Scannell died on Nov 16, 2007 (age 85).
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
He enlisted in the army but deserted after V.E. Day and earned his living as a boxer while on the run.
Vernon Scannell, whose birth name was John Vernon Bain, was born in 1922 in Spilsby, Lincolnshire. The family, always poor, moved frequently, including Ballaghaderreen in Ireland, Beeston, and Eccles, before settling in Buckinghamshire. Bain spent most of his youth growing up in Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. His father had fought in the First World War, and came to make a living as a commercial photographer. Scannell attended the local Queen's Park Boys' School, an elementary council school He left school at the age of 14 to work as a clerk in an insurance office. His real passions, however, were for the unlikely combination of boxing and literature. He had been winning boxing titles at school and had been a keen reader from a very early age, although not properly attaching to poetry until about aged 15, when he picked up a Walter de la Mare poem and was "instantly and permanently hooked". He frequently read both the poetry of Thomas Hardy and the thrillers of Edgar Wallace.
Scannell enlisted in the army " as a lark" in 1940, shortly after war was declared. He joined the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders., and two years later was transferred to the Gordon Highlanders, a part of the 51st Highland Division. The war took him into action in the North African desert. He fought at El Alamein and across the western desert during the Eighth Army's drive to reach Tunisia. Following an assault on an Axis held hill near Gabes he watched as his Gordon Highlanders moved through the recently taken position, looting the dead, both Allied and Axis. Revolted, he walked away. He was caught and court-martialled for deserting a forward area. Sentenced to three years imprisonment, he spent six months in one of the harshest military penal institutions in Alexandria before being released on a suspended sentence to take part in the Normandy landings. His war ended when he was shot in both legs while on night patrol near Caen. He was shipped back to a military hospital at Winwick in Lancashire before being sent on to a convalescent depot. Scannell had always very much disliked army life, finding nothing in his temperament which fitted him for the part of a soldier. Following the end of the war in Europe (V.E. Day) he deserted again and spent two years on the run, earning his living with jobs in the theatre, professional boxing bouts and tutoring and coaching, all the while teaching himself by reading everything he could. During this evasive time Scannell was writing poetry and was first published in Tribune and The Adelphi. He was also boxing for Leeds University, winning the Northern Universities Championships at three weights. In 1947 he was arrested and court-martialled and sent to Northfield Military Hospital, a mental institution near Birmingham. On discharge he returned to Leeds and then went to London, where, supporting himself with teaching jobs and boxing, he settled down to writing.
He received the Heinemann Award for Literature in 1961 for an early poetry volume, The Masks of Love, and the Cholmondeley Award for poetry in 1974. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1960 and granted a Civil List pension in recognition of his services to literature in 1981. Stephen Spender, the poet perceptively wrote to Scannell in a letter in 1953: "you write good poetry and that is all that matters." Seamus Heaney in a letter to Andrew Taylor said he admired Scannell's poems "not only for their sturdy metrical pace and structure, but for their combination of mordancy and a sense of mortality". John Carey, the critic commented: "Scannell nearly always works on two levels, one realistic and external, the other imaginative, metaphorical, haunted by memory and desire. A master of the dramatic monologue, his work is drenched in humanity. It resounds with memories." Scannell also wrote the verse narration for BBC Television film A House that Died.
Scannell, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature won many poetry awards, including for war poems such as his collection Walking Wounded. A. E. Housman said that "the business of poetry is to harmonise the sadness of the universe" and Scannell quoted this with approval. Scannell's poems, with their themes of love, violence and mortality, were shaped and influenced by his wartime experiences. Scannell was awarded a Writing Fellowship in 1975 as Resident Poet in Berinsfield, Oxfordshire, an experience he recounts in A Proper Gentleman and later, in 1979 he spent a term as Poet in Residence at the King's School, Canterbury. His final collection, Last Post, was published in 2007; he had been working on it until not long before his death.
Currently, Vernon Scannell is 100 years, 4 months and 0 days old. Vernon Scannell will celebrate 101st birthday on a Monday 23rd of January 2023.
Find out about Vernon Scannell birthday activities in timeline view here.