Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen were two of the most celebrated poets of World War I. Both fought on the Western Front and first met as patients at a military hospital in Edinburgh in 1917. Through their poetry they spoke out against the patriotism of war – and brought to light the horror of the trenches and the futile loss of life.
Owen was in awe of Sassoon – as a poet and someone known for his bravery in battle.
Sassoon became his mentor, and their brief but close friendship stimulated an intense period of creativity for Owen.
Both men had witnessed fellow soldiers die next to them on the battlefield. They believed the war was being unnecessarily prolonged. Fighting was not about heroes and honour, but about pity and suffering.
At the time
shell shock was little understood and being in a military hospital without a
visible wound Owen felt he still had to prove he wasn’t a coward. In August 1918
he returned to the front line.
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