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Warren Lewis

Warren Lewis

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Warren Hamilton Lewis (June 16, 1895 – April 9, 1973) was an Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

 officer and historian, best known as the brother of the author and professor C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

. Warren Lewis was a supply officer with the Royal Army Service Corps of the British Army during and after World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. After retiring in 1932 to live with his brother in Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

, he was one of the founding members of the "Inklings
The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949. The Inklings were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction, and encouraged the writing of fantasy...

", an informal Oxford literary society. He wrote on French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 history, and served as his brother's secretary for the later years of C. S. Lewis's life.

Early life

C. S. Lewis referred to his older brother, Warren (“Warnie”), as “my dearest and closest friend.” The lifelong friendship formed as the boys played together in their home, Little Lea, on the outskirts of Belfast
Belfast is the capital of and largest city in Northern Ireland. By population, it is the 14th biggest city in the United Kingdom and second biggest on the island of Ireland . It is the seat of the devolved government and legislative Northern Ireland Assembly...

, writing and illustrating stories for their created world called "Boxen
Boxen (C. S. Lewis)
Boxen is a fictional world that C. S. Lewis and his brother W. H. Lewis created as children. The world of Boxen was created when Jack's stories about Animal-Land and Warnie's stories about India were brought together....

" (a combination of India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and a previous incarnation called "Animal-Land"). In 1908 their mother died from cancer
Cancer , known medically as a malignant neoplasm, is a large group of different diseases, all involving unregulated cell growth. In cancer, cells divide and grow uncontrollably, forming malignant tumors, and invade nearby parts of the body. The cancer may also spread to more distant parts of the...

 and as their father mourned her, C. S. ("Jack") and Warren Lewis had only each other for comfort and support. Soon after their mother's death, Jack was sent across the channel to join Warren Lewis at an English boarding school named Wynyard
Wynyard School
Wynyard School was a boarding school in Watford, Hertfordshire, England.It was attended by C.S. Lewis and his brother Warren...

 in Watford
Watford is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated northwest of central London and within the bounds of the M25 motorway. The borough is separated from Greater London to the south by the urbanised parish of Watford Rural in the Three Rivers District.Watford was created as an urban...

, just northwest of London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, where they both endured a harsh headmaster named Robert Capron. Warren had been taken there by his mother Flora on May 10, 1905. In 1909, Warren Lewis transferred to Malvern College
Malvern College
Malvern College is a coeducational independent school located on a 250 acre campus near the town centre of Malvern, Worcestershire in England. Founded on 25 January 1865, until 1992, the College was a secondary school for boys aged 13 to 18...

 in Worcestershire
Worcestershire is a non-metropolitan county, established in antiquity, located in the West Midlands region of England. For Eurostat purposes it is a NUTS 3 region and is one of three counties that comprise the "Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire" NUTS 2 region...

 (Mid-West England) and was followed there by his brother a few years later. Warren Lewis completed his education at Malvern in 1913.

Military service

He had private studies with W. T. Kirkpatrick for four months in preparation for the army entrance exam, beginning on September 10, 1913, and finished 21st among over 201 candidates taking the exam, entitling him to a "prize cadetship" with which he entered the Royal Military Academy
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst , commonly known simply as Sandhurst, is a British Army officer initial training centre located in Sandhurst, Berkshire, England...

 at Sandhurst on February 4, 1914. This enabled him a reduction of the cost of attendance. He was appointed a commission on September 29 as a second lieutenant in the Royal Army Service Corps
Royal Army Service Corps
The Royal Army Service Corps was a corps of the British Army. It was responsible for land, coastal and lake transport; air despatch; supply of food, water, fuel, and general domestic stores such as clothing, furniture and stationery ; administration of...

 after only nine months of training (due to wartime need; the normal course of study was eighteen months to two years), left Sandhurst on October 1, and was sent to France on November 4, 1914 to serve with the 4th Company 7th Divisional Train British Expeditionary Force.

Warren Lewis served in such postings as Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 (1919), Aldershot
Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council...

 (November 1919), Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone , officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Guinea to the north and east, Liberia to the southeast, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west and southwest. Sierra Leone covers a total area of and has an estimated population between 5.4 and 6.4...

 (March 9, 1921 to March 23, 1922), Colchester
Colchester is an historic town and the largest settlement within the borough of Colchester in Essex, England.At the time of the census in 2001, it had a population of 104,390. However, the population is rapidly increasing, and has been named as one of Britain's fastest growing towns. As the...

 (October 4, 1922 to December 1925), Woolwich
Woolwich is a district in south London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. The area is identified in the London Plan as one of 35 major centres in Greater London.Woolwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created...

 (January 1925 until April 1927), and China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 (two tours of duty, the first beginning on April 11, 1927 in Kowloon, South China
Kowloon is an urban area in Hong Kong comprising the Kowloon Peninsula and New Kowloon. It is bordered by the Lei Yue Mun strait in the east, Mei Foo Sun Chuen and Stonecutter's Island in the west, Tate's Cairn and Lion Rock in the north, and Victoria Harbour in the south. It had a population of...

, then later in Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, and ending in April 1930; the second beginning on October 9, 1931 and ending on December 14, 1932). After retiring with the rank of captain from 18 years of active service on December 21, 1932 (he was granted a temporary rank of major when recalled to active service on September 4, 1939), he began residence at The Kilns (Headington
Headington is a suburb of Oxford, England. It is at the top of Headington Hill overlooking the city in the Thames Valley below. The life of the large residential area is centred upon London Road, the main road between London and Oxford.-History:...

), where he lived until after his brother’s death in 1963.

Personal life

Warren Lewis renewed his Christian
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 faith five months before his brother’s conversion, in 1929. He was a frequent participant in weekly meetings of the Inklings
The Inklings was an informal literary discussion group associated with the University of Oxford, England, for nearly two decades between the early 1930s and late 1949. The Inklings were literary enthusiasts who praised the value of narrative in fiction, and encouraged the writing of fantasy...

 and recorded comments about them in many of his diary entries. During the 1930s, the Lewis brothers undertook eight annual walking tours of as many as 50 miles (80 km), which Warren years later recalled with fondness, saying, "And jolly good fun they were too."


Soon after his first retirement in 1932, Warren Lewis edited the Lewis family papers. During his final retirement he began researching a topic of his lifelong interest: the history of 17th-century France. As W. H. Lewis, he published seven books on France during the reign of Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

, including The Splendid Century: Some Aspects of French Life in the Reign of Louis XIV and Levantine Adventurer: The travels and missions of the Chevalier d'Arvieux, 1653–1697. An excerpt from The Splendid Century appeared first in Essays Presented to Charles Williams, a volume edited by his brother as an informal Festschrift
In academia, a Festschrift , is a book honoring a respected person, especially an academic, and presented during his or her lifetime. The term, borrowed from German, could be translated as celebration publication or celebratory writing...

 to benefit Williams' widow.

After C. S. Lewis died in 1963, Warren edited the first published edition of his brother's letters (1966), adding a memoir of his brother as a preface to the letters. Later editions of these letters were edited by Walter Hooper
Walter Hooper
Walter McGehee Hooper is a trustee and literary advisor of the estate of C.S. Lewis. Born in Reidsville, North Carolina, U.S., he earned an M.A. in education and was an instructor in English at the University of Kentucky in the early 1960s. As a visitor to England, he served briefly as Lewis's...


Before his death, Warren Lewis deposited many of the Lewis family papers, including surviving papers of C. S. Lewis and himself, in the Marion E. Wade Collection of Wheaton College
Wheaton College (Illinois)
Wheaton College is a private, evangelical Protestant liberal arts college in Wheaton, Illinois, a suburb west of Chicago in the United States...

. In 1982, selections from Warren Lewis' diary were published under the title Brothers and Friends.


  • The Lewis Papers: Memoirs of the Lewis Family. Printed privately in 1933.
  • "The Galleys of France." In Essays Presented to Charles Williams. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 1947.
  • The Splendid Century: Some Aspects of French Life in the Reign of Louis XIV. Eyre & Spottiswoode. London. 1953.
  • The Sunset of the Splendid Century: The Life and Times of Louis Auguste de Bourbon, Duc de Maine, . Eyre & Spottiswoode. London. 1955.
  • Assault on Olympus: The Rise of the House of Gramont between 1604 and 1678. Andre Deutsch. London. 1958.
  • Louis XIV: An Informal Portrait. Andre Deutsch. London. 1959.
  • The Scandalous Regent: A Life of Philippe, Duc d'Orleans, , and of his family. Andre Deutsch. London. 1961.
  • Levantine Adventurer: The Travels and Missions of the Chevalier d'Arvieux, . Andre Deutsch. London. 1962.
  • Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon. B.T. Batsford. London. 1964.
  • Letters of C. S. Lewis (as editor). Geoffrey Bles Ltd. London. 1966.