Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Wilfred Owen's first steps in Edinburgh re-enacted

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Media captionWilfred Owen wrote Dulce et Decorum Est while recuperating in Edinburgh

War poet Wilfred Owen's first steps in Edinburgh have been re-enacted to mark 100 years to the day since he arrived in the city, which had a huge impact on his poetry.

Owen arrived from London by train on 26 June 1917.

He had been sent to be treated for shellshock at Craiglockhart War Hospital.

It is there he met anti-war poet Siegfried Sassoon, who would have a big influence on his work.

Image caption The re-enactment marked 100 years since the war poet first arrived in Edinburgh

Peter Owen, nephew of Wilfred Owen and ambassador of the Wilfred Owen Association, said: "Wilfred Owen's poetry has influenced poets of all times and ages.

"This legacy was only made possible through a meeting of minds with Siegfried Sassoon at Craiglockhart.

"If Wilfred has an afterlife, no aspect would have pleased him more than the way his words have been used and modified by poets that came after him.

"Both Auden and Spender were influenced by Wilfred. Edmond Blunden wrote of him and his poems."

He added: "A poet's poet Wilfred said of himself but would have never dreamed of his ever-growing legacy. This all began here in Edinburgh, at Craiglockhart, now Edinburgh Napier University.

"Oh, how Wilfred would appreciate and be very grateful and pleased by the honour of being welcomed here. All those involved who have spent so much time planning this extended commemoration need to be thanked many, many times."

It was at Craiglockhart, now part of Edinburgh Napier's Craiglockhart campus, that Owen wrote two of his most-revered poems - Dulce Et Decorum Est and Anthem For Doomed Youth.

The re-enactment event took place at Waverley Station and along Princes Street earlier as a programme of events to commemorate the centenary continued.

Image caption Pipers accompanied the party along Princes Street

Arriving at platform seven on the Caledonian Sleeper, the event saw Owen, played by historian and teacher David Clarke, welcomed to the city by the Rt Hon Lord Provost and Lord Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh Frank Ross and Norman Drummond, chairman of the Scottish government's World War One Commemoration panel.

The party were with Owen's nephew, Peter, who made the train journey to be part of the centenary commemorations.

Owen's initial journey along Princes Street was replicated with the sound of pipers accompanying the group along Edinburgh's main thoroughfare.

They gathered outside the Caledonian Hotel - a location where Owen regularly met "the great and good" of the city during his time there.

Neil McLennan, event organiser and chairman of Wilfred Owen's Edinburgh 1917-2017, said: "Edinburgh was the centre of Owen's enlightenment and where he crafted some of the most powerful poetry of the war.

"It is pleasing to see so many come together to commemorate this vital part of Edinburgh's literary history."

On Monday night, the Craiglockhart campus will host a special public lecture with Scottish military historian Prof Sir Hew Strachan.

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