Q&A From Don King Webinar – 5 Things I Learned from Warnie Lewis

Q: What is your evaluation of Warnie’s Christian commitment? Was it vital to him or more of a cultural tradition? Did he really grasp what Jack was writing?

A: As a young man, Warnie’s Christian faith was primarily cultural, but after 1930 or so his was a genuine Christian faith. He and Jack returned to Christianity on almost the same day even though Jack was in Oxford and Warnie was in the Far East.

Q: When will Dr. King’s book be available?

A: Hopefully, in 2022.

Q: Do we know the make and model of Warnie’s motorbike?

A: Warnie called all his motorcycles Daudels. Joel Heck provides this detailed answer:

There is no model of motorcycle (and no motorcycle manufacturer) by this name, but Warren Lewis used that term for his motorcycle. The word seems to come from the German, since he also calls it his Daudelspiel, and the “spiel” part of that word means “play.” Warren once spelled Daudel as “Dawdle.” It may be related to the Swiss word Badautle, which means “simple person.” In February 1921, we know he was riding a Triumph motorcycle, and yet he refers to it as his Daudel. Therefore, it seems clear that the Daudel is Warren’s affectionate term for his motorcycle, especially since he called several different models by the same term.

Q: Are there any specific records and Jack and Warnie’s visits to The Golden Valley in Wales?

A: Yes. On their walking tour of January 3-6, 1933, Warnie recorded in his diary details of this. My summary follows: On January 3 and 4 their largely west-northwest progress took them through Bredwardine, down the Golden Valley to Dorstone, and eventually to Hay-on-Wye. The trudges up the hills and the elevation changes were tiring, but the views, especially down the Golden Valley which Warnie describes as delightful, were well worth the effort. He writes that he never saw such a country like it for brooks and streams, most of them pretty, and many strikingly beautiful.

Q: Wonderful presentation. To what factors do you attribute the formation of the outstanding writing talent and descriptive powers that the two brothers possessed in common?

A: The main factors contributing to their gifts as writers were their vast reading—both were voracious readers—, their numerous discussion of what they read, and their imaginations.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about his military career? What were some of his assignments and expertise?

A: I explore this in chapters 2 and 3 of my book. Here is a quick snapshot:

  • He was appointed to a Commission as a 2nd Lieutenant from the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst on September 30, 1914, serving in the Army Service Corps (ASC). His initial training occurred in France at the Le Havre base depot.
  • He served with the 4th Company, 7th Divisional Train of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in France from November 4, 1914 to September 1915.
  • He served with the 3rd Company, 7th Divisional Train of the BEF September 1915 to November 1916; he was promoted to Lieutenant on September 24, 1916.
  • He was the Officer Commanding the 4th Company 7th Divisional Train November 13, 1916 to November 21, 1916; he was promoted to the rank of temporary Captain on October, 1, 1916.
  • He served with the 32nd Divisional Train November 1916 to December 1917; he was promoted to Captain on November 29, 1917.
  • He attended the Mechanical Transport School of Instruction December 23, 1917 to March 4, 1918.
  • He served with the Royal Garrison Artillery in an ammunition column, the 25th Brigade, 4th or D Corps Siege Park, from March 4, 1918 to late May 1918.
  • He served with the 31st Divisional Mechanical Transport Company late May 1918 to April 1919.
  • After the war ended, he returned to England on November 18, 1919.
  • Joined 487 Company ASC (later 15th Company) UK                           June 1920 – January 1921
  • Served in Sierra Leone                                                                           March 1921 – April 1922
  • Officer in charge of Suppliers Colchester                                            October 1922 – December 1925
  • Officer Commanding No. 17 Mech. Trans. Co ASC Woolwich              December 1925 – March 1927
  • Served China as Officer Commanding Supply Depot                         April 1927 – April 1930
  • Officer Commanding Supply Company Bulford                                 June 1930 – October 1931
  • Officer Commanding RASC Shanghai                                                   November 1931 – March 1932
  • Officer Commanding Supply Depot Shanghai                                     April 1932 – October 1932
  • Retired on retired pay                                                                            21 December 1932
  • Recalled to the Colours                                                                          4 September 1939
  • Served with No. 3 Base Supply Depot France                                     October 1939 – June 1940
  • Relegated to Reserve of Officers                                                          16 August 1940
  • Ceased to belong to Reserve of Officers                                             29 March 1947

Q: Jack’s late in life and short marriage to Joy is the stuff of romantic legend by now. Do you know if Warnie ever had a romantic relationship?

A: There is no evidence that Warnie ever had a long-term romantic relationship. However, there is plenty of evidence he found women attractive and during his army career he had sexual liaisons with “women of the street.”

Q: You mentioned the prosaic style of Warnie. How would you describe his rhetoric linguistic language? Did he ever cuss in his diaries?

A: John Wain, himself an Inkling, best answers this question.

In writing about the published portions of Warren’s entire diary, Wain linked the two brothers: “I think C. S. Lewis is the best writer of expository prose that modern England has to show . . . He sets out his subject matter absolutely correctly, and his style is perfect from one sentence to the next. It’s always rhythmical, cogent, economical, memorable. The words are right, the rhythms are right. The words are in the right order, the images are right, there is no clumsy sentence anywhere. It’s absolutely superb prose.” The he adds: “W. H. Lewis is exactly the same. In his less ambitious way, there is no clumsily written sentence anywhere in his work. He had the same gift.”

Yes, Warnie sometimes swears in his diary—but not often.

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