Category Archives: Wilfred Owen

Dulce Et Decorum Est

Fine, for the next 2 Sundays at least (even if not the midweek ones), the subject matter is going to turn to events a century ago. Next Sunday is the obvious one, 100 years from Armistice Day, but in many ways, for those of us who thankfully didnt have to live through events, today is quite significant as well.

The only way many people found out about the horror of the war, was after the event, by poetry written by those who were there. Probably the most significant, and better known one of these, was Wilfred Owen, who died 100 years ago today, in one of the last days of fighting. Indeed it was almost to the hour, 7 days before the end of the war that he died.

Given he had previously been seriously injured, he hadnt actually needed to be there, but had returned to the front a couple of months previously. The story is that this is because Sassoon had been sent home for health reasons, and he felt that a poet had to be there to relate the events. Sadly, it led to his death.

Even more sadly for his family, the news only reached them of his death a week later, in Shrewsbury, as the church bells were ringing to celebrate the armistice.

Its generally suspected that Owen was gay. Obviously back then, there is no definite evidence (it was very illegal at the time) of this, so lets not cast suggestions for which there is no clear clarity. Not that it should matter either way, though it might have done back then, if known. But without him, we living today would have less idea how ghastly that ‘Great War’ was.

Sadly, nowadays, we have too many so called leaders who seem to think of war as a glorious thing, and it isnt!

Right, video time. The best I can offer is a reading of one of Owen’s more famous poems, read by Christopher Eccleston