War poet Wilfred Owen's Military Cross stolen

A Military Cross medal and cigarette case that belonged to war poet Wilfred Owen are believed to have been stolen.

A Military Cross medal and cigarette case that belonged to war poet Wilfred Owen are believed to have been stolen.

The Oswestry-born writer, who also lived in Shrewsbury, is recognised as one of the greatest voices of the First World War.

His nephew Peter Owen, who lives in Surrey, said the treasured items were usually kept in a safe but they went missing from his house last summer.

He said: "Wilfred never saw the Military Cross, it was handed to his father after he died. It was passed down the family to his brother, Harold, and then to us.

"We had some friends from Canada to stay in May last year and we got it out of the safe to show them. I put it away in what I thought was a secure place.

"When I went to find it again in July to show some other friends, it had gone. I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach and we reported it to the police.

"A cigarette case which was certainly used by Wilfred has also gone. It had an 1893 silver mark on it."

The medal is engraved on the reverse side to Wilfred ES Owen and the Fonsomme Line and is boxed in a purple case with the ribbon and a chain.

Information to the Wilfred Owen Association website by e-mailing woa@1914-18.co.uk or wilfredowen1918@googlemail.com

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Comments for: "War poet Wilfred Owen's Military Cross stolen"


"Believed to be stolen”? And in July 2010, why the delay in publicising the loss?

Grim Reaper

Agreed - see my comment subsequent to your own.

Grim Reaper

As a lifelong admirer of Wilfred Owen, this loss is truly appalling. What is equally disturbing, is that the poet's nephew did not take better care of what are irreplaceable items intimately connected with this country's finest war poet. As the matter is herein reported, the nephew sounds utterly gormless:"I put it away in what I thought was a secure place". What he THOUGHT was a secure place? The items which have disappeared, presumed stolen, should have been in the keeping of the Imperial War Museum not in the hands of someone who evidently couldn't take proper care of them.


The only "secure place" Mr Owen was back in the safe. And it was in that "secure place" from May until at least some time in July.

I don't call it unfortunate I call it as many will I'm sure irresponsible and a blatant disregard for something so significant and important.

Rob, Telford

Just a thought, but has he looked down the side of the sofa?


This is a very sad loss of nationally important artifacts which provide a direct link with one of the greatest poets of the First World War. In my opinion when we have in our possession such links with the past then we do not in the normal sense “own” them but are merely custodians for future generations to be able to look and maybe just make a fleeting connection with one of the most admired Englishmen of his generation. Such artifacts should have been on view in a museum and not insecure as these most obviously were. I hope against hope that they are found and returned.

Shrewsbury Norman

This is local newspaper for local people.

Can visitors from web forums please limit their contributions to their own website and/or wait until the story reaches the Daily Fail.

Much love,



Following this logic, a local newspaper for local people ought not to be publishing a story about the theft of private property which happened in Surrey!


Grim Reaper - do you not think that Peter Owen feels terrible enough as it is without you using words like 'gormless'? How do you know that what he thought was a secure place wasn't a safe equivalent? We all have places in our homes where we are confident an intruder won't find them.

Why is a bit of tin so important apart from as a curiosity? It doesn't belong to the nation. It doesn't enrich our minds. What we have of Wilfred Owen is the rich body of his literature and letters, many in his own handwriting, supplemented by people's memories of him as recorded in their own way. Those are far more interesting to most people and repay far more examination than peering at a medal in a museum.

I sincerely hope that Peter Owen will be reunited with his family's inheritance.