World War I, also known as the First World War, The Great War, and the War to End All Wars, was a world-wide conflict lasting from 1914 to 1918, between the "Allied Powers" of a dozen European countries, and the Central Powers of the German Empire, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.
J.R.R. Tolkien served in the Western Front of World War I, as a commissioned officer with the rank of Second Lieutenant in the Lancashire Fusiliers of the British Army. He developed esteem as one of their best signalers.
Tolkien was profoundly influenced by his experiences in it, particularly the Battle of the Somme. Many of his ideas for the battles in Middle-earth are thought to have stemmed from it. (John Garth's biography Tolkien and the Great War focuses on Tolkien's months in the war and explains its influences.)
Relations of Tolkien who served
Of the T.C.B.S.
- J.R.R. Tolkien, in the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers
- Christopher Wiseman, in the Royal Navy
- Robert Gilson†, in the Cambridgeshire Battalions
- Geoffrey Bache Smith†, in the 3rd Salford Pals
- T.K. Barnsley†, in the Coldstream Guards
- Ralph Payton†
- C.S. Lewis, in the 3rd Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry
- Hilary Tolkien, a bugler in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment
- Hugo Dyson