Wilfred Owen (1893-1918) is widely recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War. He was born in Oswestry, and brought up in Birkenhead and Shrewsbury. Although he spent only a few years of his life here in Oswestry, his family history goes back generations and his grandfather was once mayor of the town. Visitors who want to know more about his life in the town can download the Wilfred Owen Town Trail which will show you places in his life.
His self-appointed task was to speak for the men in his care, to show the ‘Pity of War’. Owen’s enduring and influential poetry is evidence of his bleak realism, his energy and indignation, his compassion and his great technical skill.At the time of his death he was virtually unknown – only four of his poems were published during his lifetime – but he had always been determined to be a poet, and had experimented with verse from an early age. In 1913-1915, whilst teaching at Bordeaux and Bagnères-de-Bigorre in France, he worked on the rhyming patterns which became characteristic of his poetry; but it was not until the summer of 1917 that he found his true voice.