By MICHAEL CAINES
He counted not the cost:
What he believed, he did.
The month before the poet Charles Péguy was killed, in September 1914, another professional writer in his forties had enlisted, in the British Army. George Calderon was initially sent to France as an interpreter. He had a "combative" interpretation of an interpreter's duties, however, and went missing in action during the Battle of Achi Baba (a bloody yet vain attempt to gain an advantage in the Dardanelles) on June 4, 1915.
Calderon's literary friends included Percy Lubbock, who published a "sketch from memory" of him after the war, and the poet Laurence Binyon, whose tribute, quoted above, adorns Lubbock's book; his wife Katharine had served as his literary agent and continued to promote his works in the 1920s, including his often revived play The Fountain. Other works included a tragedy in blank verse, Cromwell: Mall o'Monks, and his posthumously published account of the South Seas, Tahiti by Tihoti. He had also reviewed regularly for the TLS in the decade before the war, covering Russian literature, the new G. K. Chesterton or H. G. Wells, and various other subjects.
Perhaps most significantly for theatre history, Calderon had spent a few years in Russia and come back with tastes ahead of his time: his translation of The Seagull, staged at the Glasgow Repertory Theatre in 1909, was the first British production of a play by Chekhov. . . .