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LT Wilfred Edward Salter Owen

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LT Wilfred Edward Salter Owen

  • Birth 18 Mar 1893 Oswestry, Shropshire Unitary Authority, Shropshire, England
  • Death 4 Nov 1918 Ors, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
  • Burial Ors, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France
  • Memorial ID 6573

Poet, British Army Officer. English poetry figure noted for his anger at the cruelty and waste of war, and for his pity for its victims. He is also significant for his use of assonance in poetry, which was particularly influential in poetry during the 1930s. He was killed in action one week before the end of World War I. Born in Shropshire, England, in 1893, his family moved to Shrewsbury, England in 1906. In late 1910 he became a lay assistant at Dunsden, but in February 1911, he fell ill and returns home, where he recovers. In September 1913, he took a job teaching English in Bordeaux, France, which led to a job tutoring a family at Begneres de Bigorre, France (in the Pyrenees) in June 1914. While there he meets the famous French poet, Laurent Tailhade, who would have great influence on his poetry. In October 1915, he returned to London, where he enlisted in the 3rd Battalion, 28th London Regiment, and shortly afterwards, attended Officer Training Corps. In June 1916, he was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Manchester Regiment, and begins training with them at Camp Milford, near Witley. After attending a musketry course at Farnborough (where he became an expert rifle shot), his regiment was sent to France, and where it fought in the Battle of the Somme. With the end of the battle in late November, the 2nd Manchester Regiment was sent to Southport for refitting, having only 156 officers and men remaining after the Somme offensive (normal strength is over 1,000 men). This battle, which killed over 1/4 of the participating British soldier, was noted for its carnage. On January 12, 1917, he returned to France with the 2nd Manchester, where they went back into the front line at Serre. After taking a German bunker, Lt Owen posted a sentry, who is then blinded in a bombardment. This incident becomes the subject of his poem, "The Sentry." In February 1917, he attended the Transportation Course at Abbeville, and rejoins his regiment on March 1, 1917. On March 14, he suffered a concussion during a shelling, and is evacuated to the hospital at Gailly where he stays until April 4, after which he returned to his regiment near Selency. After numerous attacks and shellings, his commander, Lieutenant Colonel Luxmoore, notices that Winifred Owen is suffering from "shell shock" and he is evacuated to the Netley Hospital in Hampshire. On June 25, he was sent to the Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, where he meets Siegfried Sassoon and Robert Graves, two noted poets, who inspire him again. In October he wrote what many considers his best poetry, "Anthem for Doomed Youth" and "Dulce et Decorum Est." While still recuperating, he attends his friend Robert Graves' wedding, on January 31, 1918. In June 1918, he was again found fit for front line duty, and was posted to the 5th Manchester Regiment in Scarbourough. The 5th Manchester is then sent to France in September, where they participate in the attack on Joncourt on October 1-3, 1917. Lieutenant Owen was recommended for a Military Cross for his bravery during the action. On October 30, 1917, the 2nd Manchester was sent to take over the line west of the Sambre-Oise canal, near Ors, and Winifred Owen was posted to them. On November 4, 1917, he was killed in action on the banks of the Sambre-Oise Canal. In 19199 his poems were published posthumously, and in December 1920 in the book "Poems of Wilfred Owen" with an Introduction written by his friend, Siegfried Sassoon was published. (Bio by Morgan Benson)

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 9 Oct 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 6573
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for LT Wilfred Edward Salter Owen (18 Mar 1893–4 Nov 1918), Find A Grave Memorial no. 6573, citing Ors Communal Cemetery, Ors, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .