Wilfred Owen Early Life

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Wilfred Edward Salter Owen was born in Shropshire on 18th March, 1983, as the eldest of four children. His parents, Thomas and Susan Owen, lived in a house that belonged to Owen’s Grandfather. However, on his death in 1897, the family moved to Birkenhead.

Owen started his education at the Birkenhead Institute but continued his education at the Technical School in Shrewsbury when his family were forced to move there due to his father’s new job as the Assistant Superintendent for the Western Region of the railways. Owen always showed his interest in the Arts and Owen’s earliest experiments in poetry started at the age of seventeen. Due to Owen being raised as an Anglican of the evangelical school, his early influences included The Bible, like many poets of his time. Not long after leaving school in 1911, Owen passed the matriculation exam for the University of London, but not to the standard to be able to get a scholarship. Unfortunately, with his family’s circumstances, Owen was unable to attend the university as his family couldn’t afford it. After failing to join the University, he became an unpaid assistant to Reverend Herbet Wigan, for a year, in return for tuition. After doing so, in September 1913, Owen moved to Bordeaux to work as a private tutor teaching English and French at the Berlitz School of English. When the First World War broke out in 1914, Owen was living with a French family in the Pyrenees. At first, he made no attempt to return back to England although he made a brief visit to England in 1915. This visit stirred his conscience and provoked the idea of enlisting. One month later, he returned to England and signed up for the Artists’ Rifles. He received his commission to the Manchester Regiment, which is otherwise known as the 5th Battalion, in June 1916. He spent the rest of that year training in England and in January 1917, he was posted to France.
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