I was recently reading a short story ‘Cake’ by Stella Gibbons (she of Cold Comfort Farm fame). In the story, she uses the phrase ‘the Four Years War’ to refer to the First World War. She uses it three times, so it’s presumably not an isolated piece of creative phrasing. It’s not a name for that war that I’m aware of seeing before.
I couldn’t find any other instances with a Google search. There are lots of hits for a Star Trek RPG with that name and for a French/Venetian conflict in the 16th century, but none that I can see for WW1, other than instances of ‘four years war’ in a sentence or a title father than as the name of the conflict.
The story is in a collection published in 1940 (’Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm’) and the story itself seems from internal references to be set in 1940, so presumably written about then. I think that’s too early for the 1914-18 war to be called the First World War.
Has anyone else come across this phrase used this way?