Thursday, 21 October 2021

Reality of trenches

WILFRED OWEN was born Shropshire, in March 1893, the eldest of four children.

In 1915 he enlisted in the army. His first experience of active service was at Serre and St Quentin in early 1917. He suffered shell shock and was returned to Britain. While being treated at Craiglockhart War Hospital in Edinburgh, he met fellow poet Siegfried Sassoon.

Owen returned to the Western Front after more than a year away but was killed on November 4, 1918 during the battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors one week before the signing of the Armistice.

Owen’s shocking poetry on the horrors of the trenches and gas warfare was influenced by Sassoon and was in stark contrast to the public perception of war at the time and the confidently patriotic verse written by poets such as Rupert Brooke. Most of his best-known work was published posthumously.

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