Wilfred Owen wrote poems about the horrors of war from his personal experience whilst serving in the British Army in France during World War One. He demonstrated his love of writing from an early age throughout his school life and into a teaching career as an English teacher in France. When he saw for himself the effects that war had on people, he enlisted to help the war effort. After being hit by an explosion in 1917 which also resulted in the death of a close friend, he suffered shell shock and was sent to recover in Scotland. During this time, he wrote poems about the horrors of war, considered unpatriotic at the time. Later people understood that his poems spoke of the sadness of war and lives lost. He returned to fight in France but was killed a week before the war ended. The Wilfred Owen Association was set up in 1989 and celebrates his life and poetry.

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Teach

Use Dulce et Decorum Est to cover techniques such as rhythm and rhyme in poetry as well as themes around the poetry of war and conflict. Children could use the same poem to think about writing a diary from the trenches to help them think about their senses and feelings. Paul Nash’s no-man's land paintings can stimulate their imaginations further before they write the diary.