World War I remembered in Rippingale author’s novel

Richard Pike, aged 76, has written a novel set in World War I.
Richard Pike, aged 76, has written a novel set in World War I.
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A novel set during the First World War encouraging readers to remember those involved has been written by a Rippingale author.

‘Do Not Forget Me Quite’ is the first published novel by 76-year-old Richard Pike, with the title a line taken from a poem by Ivor Gurney.

While the book is a fictional tale of a family man who volunteers for the Medical Corps, the real-life poet and composer Gurney is a key character.

Richard explained: “Gurney expected to be forgotten and very nearly was. The novel refers to that and why people should remember the war.”

The importance of memories is highlighted in the human interest story as the effect of the Great War on a family is recollected.

Not only does Richard’s novel coincide with the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, but its official publication today (Friday) is even more timely given that there is a concert at the BBC Proms celebrating Gurney’s work.

“Music is a major theme that runs throughout,” adds Richard, “In a way it is a shame that the readers can’t hear the story too.”

The author says that his main aim was to get across what the war felt like, particularly to men like his main character John Hemingby who doesn’t believe in fighting but feels that he must help his country.

The protagonist’s career before the war as a teacher has clear parallels with Richard’s life, having taught at schools in Leicestershire and South Nottinghamshire before retiring to become a writer full-time.

Before that Richard would try to write as much as he could during the school holidays, having always known that he wanted to become a novelist.

Indeed, as a Cambridge graduate in Classics and former Head of English, Richard has plenty of literary expertise to draw upon.

‘Do Not Forget Me Quite’ is being published by Matador, and is available from book shops as well as online at Amazon in both paperback and eBook form.