Many people instantly recognise the words of Wilfred Owen, the First World War poet, from his Anthem for Doomed Youth.

But how many of us know that he is quite a local lad?

Owen was born in Oswestry and went to the Birkenhead Institute. On leaving the institute he lived in Bordeaux for a while working as an English tutor.

At one point he was short of pupils and wrote back home to his mother “I have only one pupil at present. I have answered some advertisements in The  Schoolmaster magazine. A temporary French master wanted in Birkenhead, also in Chester.  Apply to Mr Lovell, Education Officer, Town Hall, Chester.”

So Owen might have come to live in Chester.  But fate intervened - with more pupils, things picked up and he stayed in France.

This is part of more than 500 letters Owen wrote to his mother in Shrewsbury, including describing his time in the trenches during the First World War.

It was not until 1956, many years after Owen’s death, that the letters - which his mother had carefully kept tied up with string, wool and odd bits of ribbon or tape - were discovered.

To celebrate the brief life of the man, Chester Theatre Club is staging a dramatic reading of a selection of these letters entitled Dearest Mother. This will be a combined effort with members of the club’s youth theatre and adult members.

Many of the letters describe his hopes and dreams but others reflect a typical young man requesting “no more tins of potted meat” in his parcels.

Dearest Mother will be performed at the Little Theatre, Gloucester Street, Newtown, Chester on Friday, August 23 at 7.30pm. Admission free. Visit