Depictions of the First World War in the arts


The following are arranged alphabetically:

  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque 1929
        Translated from German. The experience for German and Allied troops at the front line was extremely similar
  • Birdsong by Sebastian Faulkes
        A novel about the Somme
  • Memoirs of an Infantry Officer by Siegfried Sassoon p1930
        A fictionalized version of Sassoon’s experiences in WW1 
  • Not So Quiet: Stepdaughters of War by Helen Zenna Smith Pub. 1930
        Tells the story of women and girls who served as ambulance drivers on The Western Front
  • Private Peaceful and War Horse Michael Morpurgo
        Although written for children these stories are a good way of reading about WW1
  • Regeneration Pat Barker 1991
        Novel based on the work of Dr Rivers at Craiglockhart where Owen and Sassoon met
  • Strange Meeting Susan Hill 1974
        The title is taken from Owen’s poem of that name


The following are arranged chronologically:

  • Black ‘ell by Mile Mallison, 1917
        A powerful, one act play unusual because it was written during WW1
        You can read this on line:

  • Journey’s End: R. C. Sherrif 1928
        A play about officers in the trenches, it was received badly when first performed for being unpatriotic and anti-war. It has been made into a film
  • Oh, What a Lovely War! Joan Littlewood 1963
        A stage musical by Joan Littlewood based on the radio musical A Long Long Trail by Charles Chilton which used the first-hand experience of men who fought on the front line. In WW1. It carries a powerful anti-war message
  • Accrington Pals by Peter Whelan 1982
        The smallest town in England to raise a pals’ battalion. The story of ordinary people: men at the Somme and women at home.
  • My Boy Jack by David Haig 1997
        This play is about Rudyard Kipling and his son John (Jack) who was killed at the Somme. The title is taken from Kipling’s moving poem ‘My Son Jack’

  • War Horse based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel of the same name based on the novel about WW1.


The following are arranged chronologically:



  • War Requiem: Benjamin Britten 1962
        Britten used Owen’s poems in his Requiem. The link is to What Passing Bells based on Anthem for Doomed Youth
  • Standing in Line Coope, Boyes and Simpson
        Private Peaceful, based on Morpurgo’s novel. Coope, Boyes and Simpson 2006
  • Only Remembered
        These songs are about the men who were killed on the front sung by grandsons and great nephews who knew those they left behind
Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.