A Gunner and a Poet in Transit: Wilfred Owen and the Master of Belhaven in London, to and from Shoebury and Shrewsbury

Things are (suspiciously) quiet, now, while so many of our writers are in transit. All we have today are two officers between assignments, converging on London between nearly-rhyming provincial destinations:


The Master of Belhaven is headed home, but he’s not particularly thrilled about it–he’s just had leave in October and this will mean only a brief stop in London en route to a course. How excited can one get about Blighty or Merry Olde England in the form of a “Higher Command Course at Shoeburyness” in November? “I am very bored with the idea,” Hamilton wrote four days ago, “and it is a beastly journey.”

But those four days have allowed him to come to terms with his relative good fortune.

We had quite a good crossing, though the sea was a little choppy, and reached London at 2 o’clock. I had lunch at Lennox Gardens, and did some shopping before arriving home to tea…[1]


Also arriving in London today, a century back–at Paddington, rather than Victoria–was Wilfred Owen, after only four days at home in Shrewsbury. After securing a room at the Regent Palace Hotel, his first stop was the Poetry Bookshop, where he was shocked to find that Alida Klemantaski recognized him from his brief residence there. Tomorrow Owen will begin his attempted conquest of literary London…[2]


References and Footnotes

  1. War Diary, 411-13.
  2. Hibberd, Wilfred Owen, 280-1.