Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy


Wilfred Owen’s World War One Service

The National Archives has a page taken from the service record of the First World War soldier and poet, Wilfred Owen. It records the injuries Owen got while serving in France in the spring of 1917.

The medical officer reports: ‘About the middle of April he was blown up by a shell explosion while he was asleep. On May 1st he was observed to be shaky and tremulous, and his conduct and manner were pecular, and his memory was confused.’ He adds that Owen was ‘of a highly strung temperement’. This suggests shell shock.

The report says that Owen was to be sent to Craiglockart War Hospital near Edinburgh for observation. It was at this hospital that Owen wrote some of his most famous poems, including ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’. There he also met fellow poet, Siegfried Sassoon, who encouraged his writing.

After being discharged from the hospital, Owen returned to the Front. He was killed in action on 4th November 1918, just one week before the end of the war. The news of his death reached his parents on 11th November 1918, the day of the Armistice.

Find out more on our website
For school pupils and teachers:

WW1: A Soldier’s Record
Films from 1906-18 – including ‘The Battle of the Somme’
Recruitment and Conscription
Great War: the Trench Experience
For adults:

Moving Here – this web site has a section on soldiers’ records (the link will open in a new window).
First World War – sources for history

This item can be found in our catalogue – WO 138/74

Source National Archives

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