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Past Events - Marlow to The Somme

From Marlow to The Somme - Frederick Kelly
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From Marlow to The Somme - Frederick Kelly
On Saturday, 12 November in All Saints' Parish Church, Marlow, The Chiltern Camerata will be performing a special concert commemorating the life and music of the composer Frederick Kelly on the exact centenary of his death in action in the First World War.


This remarkable Australian-born polymath lived at Bisham Grange near Marlow and not only won a rowing gold medal in the 1908 London Olympics, but was a concert pianist and composer, a socialite and a fascinating diarist.

He served at Gallipoli where he was present in the last moments of the life of his friend the poet Rupert Brook, to whom Kelly dedicated his atmospheric 'Elegy'.



The concert will feature songs and instrumental and orchestral compositions by Kelly and his associates and contemporaries.

The performance, directed by Sam Laughton and brought to life by narrator Andrew Green, will offer intriguing insights into Kelly and his prodigiously talented life, which was snuffed out all too soon at the Battle of the Somme on 12 November 1916.

It will re-visit the links between Kelly's life as a musician, his sporting prowess, his local connections and his position in contemporary society in the years leading to the outbreak of war. Other new insights are promised.



Frederick Kelly

- Elegy 'In Memoriam Rupert Brooke'
- Serenade for flute, horn, harp & strings
- Two songs Op. 1
- Waltz Pageant Nos. 1,4,7 - piano duet
- Music, when soft voices die (soprano and piano)



- My Robin is to the Greenwood Gone



- Introduction and Allegro for flute, harp and strings





Frederick Septimus Kelly DSC was born in Sydney but spent nearly all his life in England. On leaving Oxford in 1903, he lived at his home Bisham Grange with his sister Mary. He was a keen member of the Marlow Rowing Club and the Leander Club, and was in the Leander crews which competed at Henley from 1903 to 1906. Kelly's last appearance in a racing boat was in 1908, when he competed at the London Olympic Games and won a gold medal for Great Britain.


After leaving Oxford Kelly studied the piano and the violin and was extremely talented on both instruments. He performed with Pablo Casals and helped organise a concert in London for his friend Maurice Ravel. In 1914 Kelly was commissioned into the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve together with Rupert Brooke.


Kelly was wounded twice at Gallipoli, where he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. He survived the slaughter, only to die in France when rushing a German machine gun post in the last days of the Battle of the Somme on 13th November 1916. He lies in Martinsart's British Cemetery not far from where he fell at the age of 35.


His name is recorded on memorials in Bisham and at Marlow Rowing Club.



To contact The Marlow Society:

Email: tmssecretary@

Post: The Marlow Society, 22 Rookery Court, Marlow, Buckinghamshire, SL7 3HR.


To contact The Local History Group:

Email: tmslocalhistorygroup





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