On the 14th October 1926 AA Milne published Winnie the Pooh Milne was a regimental signals officer with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He served during the build-up to the Battle of the Somme. However, his front-line service was cut short after he caught trench fever, a serious illness transmitted by body lice. After recovery he was sent as a signals instructor to Portsmouth. Whilst there he was recruited by Military Intelligence Unit MI7b, a secret propaganda unit. Milne’s WWI experiences left him opposed to war. His pacifist essay Peace with Honour was published in 1934 and his poem O.B.E. strikes a very different tone from Winnie the Pooh. I know a Captain of Industry,
Who made big bombs for the R.F.C.,
And collared a lot of £.s.d.-
And he – thank God! – has the O.B.E.
I know a Lady of Pedigree,
Who asked some soldiers out to tea,
And said “Dear me!” and “Yes, I see” –
And she – thank God! – has the O.B.E. I know a fellow of twenty-three,
Who got a job with a fat M.P.-
Not caring much for the Infantry)
And he – thank God! – has the O.B.E. I had a friend; a friend, and he
Just held the line for you and me,
And kept the Germans from the sea,
And died – without the O.B.E.
He died without the O.B.E.