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1953 - 1974

His life in Hong Kong was typically no less busy, despite the distance from home. The family had now increased to a total of four daughters: Margaret in 1946, Lucy (1948), Frances (1950) Catherine (1956). From Hong Kong he visited China twice, both times meeting the prime minister, Chou En Lai. He was constantly surrounded by people and memories of the past. The Hong Kong house was always full of students, friends and literary personalities passing through. He made several return visits to England from where he would tour the battlefields of Flanders, visit his old friend Siegfried Sassoon, Christ's Hospital, and his ever widening range of contacts, including lecturing and taking part in literary occasions.

In 1956 he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry, and in 1957 his 'Poems of Many Years' was published, selected and arranged by his long term publisher, Rupert Hart Davis. In 1958 he was created 'Companion of Literature' and wrote 'War Poets 1914-18'. In 1962 he published 'A Hong Kong House', his last major volume of poetry.

In 1964 at the age of 67 he retired and returned to England. The family settled in Long Melford, Suffolk, and initially a busy life took shape in the form of talks and lectures, articles and the publication of what would be his final poems. New friendships were also made, one such was with the poet Vernon Scannell. He was elected Professor of Poetry at Oxford in 1966. His final poem 'Ancre Sunshine' was written in 1966 on the fiftieth anniversary of the attack on Beaumont Hamel, and illustrates how the Great War haunted him to the end of his life. The year 1967 brought the death of Siegfried Sassoon, and with that the rapid demise of his own health. He resigned his professorship, and put down his pen.

Edmund Blunden died on January 20 1974. Private Beeney, his runner at Ypres and Paschendaele attended his funeral, placing a wreath of Flanders poppies in his grave.





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