Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was an Irish poet, wit and playwright. At the height of his fame, while The Importance Of Being Earnest was being performed in London, he was convicted of gross indecency with men and sentenced to two years' hard labour in Reading jail.
This led to the break-up of his family and ultimately his decline and death.
Wilde had married Constance Lloyd, daughter of a wealthy QC, Horace Lloyd, on May 29th, 1884. Cyril was born in 1885 and Vyvyan in 1886.
Constance accepted Wilde's sexual proclivities and the pair were on good terms. After her husband's downfall, she changed her name to Holland, and moved to Switzerland. Wilde never saw his sons, who took their mother's name, again.
Cyril joined the British Army and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, Royal Field Artillery, on December 20th, 1905. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1908 and served in India from 1911 to 1914 with No.9 Ammunition Column, RFA, at Secunderabad. He was promoted to Captain on October 30th, 1914.
When World War I broke out, Captain Holland returned to Europe to fight. He was killed by a sniper during the Battle of Festubert in France on May 9th, 1915, and is buried at St Vaast Post Military Cemetery, Richebourg-l'Avoue.
Vyvyan studied law at Cambridge and was called to the Bar in 1912. At the onset of World War I, he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Interpreters Corps, and later transferred into 114 Battery, XXV Brigade, Royal Field Artillery.
His wife, Violet Craigie, died of injuries sustained in a fire at the end of the war.
Awarded an OBE, Vyvyan went on to become an author and translator, working for the BBC for six years. In September 1943, he married Thelma Besant, an Australian, who, for some 12 years, was the Queen's beautician.
Thelma persuaded him to write the autobiography Son Of Oscar Wilde (1954), in which he described his father as devoted and loving.
Vyvyan died in London in 1967, aged 80. He once said: "Because of my father, I have been suspected of being a homosexual. I — who have wasted my time, my money, my substance on women!"
Found in the Daily Mail's "Answer to Correspondents" column, Friday, 2nd November, 2018, contributed by Janine Marsh of Chepstow, Monmouthshire.