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.

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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.

Legacy

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.

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