& Bullets

Musings on the worlds of aviation, military and international affairs.


With reviews of books that cover these topics


Dulce et Decorum Est

Wilfred Owen


Illustrated by Martin Impey


Strauss House Productions , October 2018

I gained the impression that the publication of this lovely book was somewhat delayed as it barely came out before the centenary of the WW1 Armistice, and therefore might just have missed some of the commercial wave caused by that date.


This is a softback tribute to the poem , the main focus of which are Martin Impey’s illustrations. He has been involved in much recent work with a WW1 theme – Where the Poppies Grow, War Horse, A Song for Will & the lost Gardens of Heligon, and so on. (All by Strauss House). His style reminded me of that of Raymond Briggs (The Snowman, etc), which is a huge compliment.


The foreword by Prof Jane Potter provides an overview of Owen’s life and his evolution as a poet in the charnel house of the Western Front. There is a facsimile of Owen’s manuscript, and of course the final poem itself. Owen seeks to describe the horrors of chemical warfare, and Impey catches the foggy panicked atmosphere that afflicts the Tommies.


It is a considered lovely piece of work, but I am not sure it will find the commercial success it deserves: too gruesome for the children’s market, and possibly not heavyweight enough for a coffee table tribute. But a worthy reminder that a century ago many of the younger generation endured unspeakable horrors.