Wilfred Owen

Sphere magazine publishes photos of Wilfred Owen and other officers killed in action The Sphere magazine, March 1919: 'Roll of Honour' showing officers killed in action. Wilfred Owen can be seen on the far right, second row from bottom.

Related Stories

Military Cross Military Cross awarded to Wilfred Owen for bravery and "devotion to duty"

At the time, many people who read Wilfred Owen's poetry thought he was unpatriotic. Some even said he was a traitor.

Propaganda hid the horrors of war and told people that the Britain was fighting the war for good reasons. But Wilfred said the opposite in his poems.

In June 1918, he returned to fight in France. He was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery and "devotion to duty".

His death

In November, just days before the end of the war, Wilfred led his men into battle by the Sambre-Oise Canal.

He had been told that they had to carry on fighting no matter what. As he led the soldiers across the canal, they were hit by German machine gun fire.

Wilfred Owen died aged 25.

His parents found out he had died on the day the Armistace (the agreement to stop fighting) was signed. This was on 11 November, which is now called Remembrance Day, when we remember all those killed in war.


Wilfred Owen's grave Wilfred Owen's grave at Ors Cemetery in France

During the war and in the years after Wilfred Owen's death, many other poets and newspaper writers did not like Wilfred's poetry. They said that he was too negative and tried to make people feel sorry for him.

Most people still believed that it was important to support the war and to celebrate the bravery of soldiers fighting for their country.

In the 1960s, Wilfred Owen's poetry became more popular.

People realised he had been brave himself as he had died fighting for Britain in the war.

Many now understood that he'd wanted to stop more wars in the future. They agreed that dying in a war was a waste of life. They admired how much he cared for other soldiers and wrote about their suffering.

In 1989, the Wilfred Owen Association was set up to celebrate his life and poetry.

Teachers' notes

Teachers' notes and classroom ideas for Wilfred Owen.

More on This Story

Related Stories

School Radio: WW1

Around the BBC

Around the web

  • IWM logoImperial War Museums

    Find out more about the IWM's plans for the centenary

  • First World War Centenary logoFirst World War Centenary

    The latest news, events and projects surrounding the commemoration

  • TES logoTES

    Discover a range of World War One teaching resources

  • WW1C LogoWW1C

    An Open Educational Resource supporting new directions in teaching World War One

  • Football Remembers logoBritish Council

    WW1 resources produced in partnership with the FA, Premier League and Football League.

  • Never Such Innocence logoNever Such Innocence

    Commemorate and learn more about WW1 through poetry, art and music

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.