Did Wilfred Owen Go To The Royal Victoria Military Hospital

Did Wilfred Owen Go To The Royal Victoria Military Hospital – Shocking stories of World War One Hampshire hospital doctors who faked footage of shell shock cures. Author Philip Hoare examines the evidence and reveals some more real-life human tragedies at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley.

Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, is said to have hated the building’s design. He thought the design was “outdated” and thought that long corridors could lead to the spread of disease.

Did Wilfred Owen Go To The Royal Victoria Military Hospital

The military hospital was a quarter of a mile long, the largest brick building of its age with over a thousand beds.

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It was originally established in 1856 after Queen Victoria ordered that a new hospital should be built to accommodate soldiers who were in better condition.

Behind the hospital is a Red Cross extension building with an additional 2,500 beds. Many of the soldiers cared for in Red Cross hospitals were cared for by volunteers known as Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs).

D-Block, the first purpose-built military asylum, is out of sight. Here the fate of the soldiers was decided between going home, being sent to an insane asylum or being sent back to the front.

The hospital complex included officers’ quarters, a railway station, stables and gasworks. It also has its own dedicated pier.

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War poet Wilfred Owen was a patient at Netley in 1917 after being wounded in action. He was hit by a shell while serving on the front line. During his short stay at Netley he was assessed for shell shock.

The hospital was demolished in 1966 after being damaged and partially destroyed by fire. Most of its medical records were destroyed.

The hospital site is now a country park. A few small parts of the original hospital remain including the officers’ mess (now private apartments), the tower and some asylum buildings. The World War inspired some of British poetry’s most poignant and affecting work. Here, Ellie Cawthorne highlights five influential British writers whose lives and work were shaped by conflict…

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Learn more about five influential British poets whose lives and work were shaped by the First World War…

The Merton College War Memorial

In the autumn of 1917, far from the front in France, crowds gathered in Birkenhead for the Welsh National Eisteddfod. A central part of the cultural festival is a poetry competition, where poets submit work under emblems with the hope of winning a prestigious ceremonial ‘bardic chair’.

However, the war cast a long shadow over that year’s celebration. When the winning poet’s pseudonym was announced at the awards ceremony, trumpets sounded and applause followed. But no one stepped forward to claim the prize. It was revealed that the winner – a young poet known by the bardic name of Hedd Wyn (meaning ‘blessed peace’) – had been killed in battle just six weeks earlier. As the bardic chair was covered in black cloth, the shockwaves were palpable.

“No words can adequately describe the wave of emotion that swept through the vast audience when Wyn’s bardic chair was draped with symbols of mourning,” reported one newspaper. .

Hedd Wyn, whose real name is Ellis Humphrey Evans, was brought up on a sheep farm in Gwynedd, north Wales. By the time he enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, he was already a respected poet in the Welsh language. Despite his relatively young age, Wyn has already won five more bardic chairs. However, his promising talent was cut short. Shortly after arriving on the western front in June 1917, he was killed in one of the opening attacks of the battle of Passchendaele, on 31 July 1917.

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, or ‘Ang Bayani’, after enlisting, finish it on the front lines. Shortly before his death, he also composed another of his most famous poems,

Or ‘The Black Chair’. It is preserved in Wyn’s family home, now a museum, as a poignant reminder of those who lost Wales in the war.

A model soldier turned passionate pacifist, Siegfried Sassoon is remembered for his incendiary antiwar writing, reflecting on shattered illusions about the glory and honor of war.

After enlisting as a second lieutenant in May 1915, Sassoon soon earned an exemplary military record. He was decorated twice, awarded the Military Cross for saving comrades during a raid on an enemy trench. However, this bravado was also tinged with a disturbingly wild recklessness, which saw Sassoon dubbed “Mad Jack” by his associates. As he experienced the horrors of trench warfare and witnessed the deaths of loved ones – including his brother Hamo at Gallipoli – Sassoon became increasingly disillusioned with the war. His poetry reflects this; where once it became romantic, it became increasingly cruel, teasing and cynical.

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In April 1917, the poet’s growing antagonism with Britain’s military commanders was severed. Wounded in the shoulder, Sassoon lay recovering in a military hospital bed. It was during this time away from the trenches that he composed one of his most scathing indictments of the incompetence of the military leadership – a poem called

Sassoon’s superiors did not fare well. The poet made matters worse by refusing to return to the front line and publishing an uncompromising letter to

Argues: “War is deliberately prolonged by those who have the power to end it.” Such provocative actions brought Sassoon dangerously close to court-martial. However, the army is reluctant to publicly punish a prominent soldier with an impressive military record. Instead, they sent Sassoon to Edinburgh’s Craiglockhart hospital to treat shell shock. Here Sassoon began a fruitful creative relationship with fellow soldier-poet Wilfred Owen; he would be a profound influence on Owen’s work.

After further postings in Palestine and France, Sassoon survived the war. He went on to a successful career writing both poetry and prose, and died in 1967. His experiences during the First World War proved a lasting influence on his work.

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Rupert Brooke is often seen as a poster-boy for the idealism of Britain’s early war effort. Unlike poets like Siegfried Sassoon or Wilfred Owen, whose poems were colored by the mud and blood of the trenches, Brooke never lived to experience the horrors of service at the front. Because of this, his writing is characterized by patriotism and romanticism that are completely at odds with the poetry that emerged from the last years of the war.

Once described as “the handsomest young man in England”, Brooke was a well-connected socialite and member of the Bloomsbury Group. By the time war broke out in Europe, he had carved out a reputation for himself as a poet. Like many of his peers, the well-travelled Cambridge graduate signed up to fight soon after the declaration of war. He was commissioned as a Royal Navy officer in the British Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.

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Proved very popular in Britain. However, Brooke’s poem was given a new and tragic poignancy. On 26 April 1915, just three weeks later

Brooke died at sea three days earlier, after developing septicemia from an infected mosquito bite. He was aged 27. The poet’s friend William Denis Browne was about to die, later recalling how he “died with the sun shining around his cabin, and the cool sea breeze blowing at the door. No one could wish for a quieter or calmer end than that beautiful bay, covered with mountains and scented with sage and thyme.”

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Rupert Brooke, pictured around 1913. Brooke’s poetry captures the idealism of Britain’s early war effort. (Getty Images)

Despite writing some of the most iconic poems of the First World War, Wilfred Owen never lived to see most of them published.

After enlisting in 1915, Owen was sent to the western front in January 1917, where he was quickly exposed to the grim reality of life on the front line. In April, he wrote to his mother: “For 12 days I have not washed my face, nor taken off my boots, nor slept soundly. For 12 days we lay in holes where at any moment a shell could take us out.” Following a particularly grueling stretch in the trenches, Owen began to suffer from crippling headaches. He was diagnosed with shell shock and sent to Craiglockhart hospital to recover.

Owen’s time at Craiglockhart had a lasting impact on him, both personally and creatively. Coincidentally, the aspiring poet was hospitalized at the same time as one of his idols – Siegfried Sassoon. Although Owen wrote to his mother: “I am not worthy to light his [Sassoon’s] pipe”, the two poets soon developed a close relationship. Owen later described Sassoon as “the greatest friend I ever had”. The pair exchanged ideas about poetry and Sassoon’s creative advice – and bitter sarcasm about the war – no doubt fueled Owen’s writing. In one letter, he recalled the older poet telling him: “Sweat your heart out writing poetry! Sweat it out, I said!”

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