But Burton is the kind of biographer who throws everything into the suitcase while resisting any kind of analysis. There is little here on the wider war, or on where Douglas might belong in the changing fashions of poetry. And there is too little on Douglas’s depression (he called it his ‘Bête Noir’), and the strange cartoon-like drawings he often used to illustrate his writings.
He was shipped back to Britain in late 1943 and as he was waiting for D-Day wrote his final known poem. ‘The next month, then, is a window,’ he speculates: ‘and with a crash I’ll split the glass.’ He was killed in a ditch three days after landing in Normandy.