BBC's Songs of Praise paid tribute to First World War poet Wilfred Owen on the centenary of his death.

Presenter Aled Jones visited Birkenhead to pay tribute to the town's famous son.

Broadcast on Sunday, November 4 - the 100th anniversary of Owen's death, the show featured Wirral born actress Dame Patricia Routledge who read Owen's Anthem for Doomed Youth and Birkenhead MP Frank Field.

Speaking on the programme Dame Routledge said: "I love poetry and Wilfred Owen, of course, expresses more strongly than any of the first World War poets.

"The waste, the anger, the misery, the hardship, the filth, the mud, the degradation, it's very searing.

"When you think he was invalided out, he won the military cross, he needn't have gone back and he was killed seven days before Armistice was announced.

"It's really dreadful, just think what poetry he may have written later.

"I mean there were many first world war poets but he captured the horror and the hideousness of the waste."


Patricia Routledge and Aled Jones

Later in the programme, Mr Field takes Aled to Owen's childhood home on Elm Grove, Birkenhead where a plaque has been erected.

Mr Field told the programme: "His family was here in Birkenhead, he went down to school at the Birkenhead Institute and went to war like a very ordinary person and somehow, something happened, some magic touched him and he wrote these great poems almost in the last months of his life.

"The commemoration for Wilfred Owen will be taking place all throughout the town, in schools which he would've loved, with poetry and music it's a great commemoration for this greatest of war poets but it is also in remembrance of all those in the first world war, the second world war but never forgetting those in our own lifetime who went to war because we in parliament voted for war and didn't come back."

Aled and Russell Watson then paid tribute to Owen with a rendition of 'Where Have All The Flowers Gone/Here's to the Heroes' at Christ Church, Birkenhead.

Born near Shropshire in 1893, Owen moved to Birkenhead with his family in 1897 where his father Thomas was temporarily employed before being transferred to Shrewsbury just a few months later.

In 1898, Thomas transferred back to Birkenhead and became stationmaster at Woodside railway station. The family lived with him in Tranmere before moving back to Shrewsbury in 1907.

On October 21, 1915 he enlisted in the British Army.

Owen was killed in action on November 4, 1918 during the battle to cross the Sambre-Oise canal at Ors, just one week before peace was declared. His family received the telegram informing them of his death on Armistice Day.

He is buried at Ors Communal Cemetery in north France.

The centenary of his death was marked at his graveside with the sound of a bugle he took from the battlefield.

Elizabeth Owen, widow of the poet's nephew Peter, was among those at the gathering.

To watch Songs of Praise Wilfred Owen TV special on BBC iPlayer click here.