Letter: Thwarted search for Wilfred Owen's grave

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Sir: Geoff Dyer ('Stained stones kissed by the English dead', Books, 13 March) writes: 'Wilfred Owen's grave in the French village of Ors . . . is marked by a standard military headstone.'

As a friend was travelling to France last Monday, he was commissioned to locate this grave. He contacted the British and Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which he had always found meticulous, polite and extremely helpful, but they could find no soldier's name in Ors cemetery beginning with the letter 'O', let alone a Wilfred Owen. Undaunted, he and the lady at the commission pursued the name, but uncovered only three Owens in military cemeteries, none of whom was the poet in question.

Later research confirmed that Owen died in an assault on the Oise-Sambre Canal, near Ors, and the same source states: 'For 50 years the poet had no memorial.' The Abbey church in Shrewsbury has a record of the death of Lt W. E. S. Owen MC, Manchester Regiment, but I can find no further information about his grave or a memorial.

Yours faithfully,


Meopham, Kent

19 March