Snapshot of war poet is revealed in records

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A SNAPSHOT of war poet Wilfred Owen’s school life is revealed in newly published records.

An insight into the school days of many First World War soldiers, poets and artists, many of whom did not return home, forms part of the 1.7 million historical files including handwritten registers, log-books and diaries detailing absences, illnesses, visitors and holiday and attendance records which have been brought to light for the first time.

Unlike many boys at his Birkenhead school, Owen did not pay an extra fee to do gym but his father, who worked as a station master, paid extra for his son to take Latin, the documents say.

The new collection, the National School Admission Registers 1870-1914, is online at the Findmypast family history website.

John Chambers, the chief executive of the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), the lead membership body for archivists, records managers and conservators, described it as a “significant new resource for family historians - and for all interested in the history of education”.

Findmypast family historian Debra Chatfield said it was “a fascinating collection”, adding: “Not only do these records reveal the details of our ancestors’ daily school lives, but they also give an insight into the last days of innocence for many young soldiers. Never before have so many archives and schools from across the country collaborated in a project like this, so that from today anyone can go online and search for the names of their ancestors or even their old school in these records.”