Letter: A corner of a foreign field that is forever Owen

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Sir: Mrs Sykes (letter, 26 March) is both right and wrong about Wilfred Owen's grave. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is correct in saying that he is not buried in the British war cemetery at Ors - but he is to be found less than a mile away, in the CWGC enclave inside the village cemetery.

About 60 men are buried there, all victims of the assault on the Sambre-Oise canal on 4 November 1918. Lt W. E. S. Owen is in the company of many of the 'band of friends' referred to in his final letter home, with two winners of the VC in the same row.

Because this group of graves is surrounded by a hedge rather than a wall, the official register of names can be found in the niche in the separate British cemetery - where an earlier thwarted visitor has added a note saying Owen is in 'the other cemetery in Ors'.

The mayor of Ors would have been happy to enlighten Mrs Sykes's friend; the village is proud to have Owen among them and on Sunday, 4 April, the commune will welcome a coach party of Owen enthusiasts to the village to see the canal and the small memorial by the canal bridge (which mentions Owen by name) and to read poems and letters by his grave.

The war memorial tablet in Shrewsbury Abbey is no longer his only local record: last Friday Owen's nephew unveiled a plaque to the poet in Oswestry (where he was born) and later this year a memorial will be established in the grounds of the Abbey, between the Owen family home and Wilfred's school. The centenary of his birth and 75th anniversary of his death this year are also being marked by a number of commemorative events but the other - and great - memorial is his continuing popularity among readers of all ages and backgrounds.

Yours faithfully,

HELEN McPHAIL

The Wilfred Owen Association

Shrewsbury, Shropshire

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