The Virtual Tour presents images from a lengthy personal programme of research and exploration. Using military archives as well as literary and biographical background material, Philip Guest prepared material for books, articles, lectures and battlefield visits. Browsing here, you can see or explore the sites with greater understanding of their significance in Wilfred Owen's life.
These images reflect considerable exploration, from the early 1990s on, when Philip began visiting the area in Northern France where Wilfred Owen had been in action in 1917 and 1918. Nearly a century after the First World War, the scars, the trenches and the wire have gone, but the terrain is often remarkably unchanged. Woods, villages, farms and of course the fields, hills, rivers and valleys are the same - quiet now, but ready to absorb the interested and well-informed visitor.
Such research involved much driving and persistence, with a small library of books and maps; and the heavily-thumbed copies of Owen's poems and letters provided, as always, the individual perceptions which extend understanding of the poems and how to interpret the thinking behind them.
Throughout this website, the material that Philip gathered can be used as a starting point for further exploration, or as an aid to any reader's understanding of the poetry.
(Vice-President and former Chair of the WOA)