Wallasey, United Kingdom

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Artist's Description

David Hillhouse made this stained glass window. This commemorates the English 1st World War poet Wilfred Owen and is in Birkenhead Central Library, Wirral, England
Owen was born on 18th March 1893 in Oswestry, Shropshire, son of Tom and Susan Owen. After the death of his grandfather in 1897 the family moved to Birkenhead (Merseyside).
Although he had previously thought of himself as a pacifist, in October 1915 he enlisted in the Artists’ Rifles. Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, he joined the Manchester Regiment in France in January, 1917. While in France Wilfred Owen began writing poems about his war experiences.

In the summer of 1917 Owen was badly concussed at the Somme after a shell landed just two yards away. After several days in a bomb crater with the mangled corpse of a fellow officer, Owen was diagnosed as suffering from shell-shock.

While recovering at Craiglockhart War Hospital he met the poet Siegfried Sassoon. Owen showed Sassoon his poetry who advised and encouraged him. So also did another writer at the hospital, Robert Graves. Sassoon suggested that Owen should write in a more direct, colloquial style. Over the next few months Owen wrote a series of poems, including Anthem for Doomed Youth, Disabled, Dulce et Decorum Est and Strange Meeting.
Owen returned to France in August 1918 and was soon involved in heavy fighting in the final offensives of the war. He was awarded the Military Cross but was killed by machine gun fire on November 4th, 1918, just one week before the Armistice, while trying to cross the Sambre Canal with his men. News of his death reached his parents in Shrewsbury on Armistice Day itself, as church bells were ringing out in celebration.

Artwork Comments

  • roybarry
  • jesika
  • rockinsue
  • robinbrown
  • Sean Farragher
  • Jase812
  • Kimberley Davitt
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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