Orlando Rowson was born in 1866 in Church Pulverbatch, Shropshire. His father was Thomas Rowson and his mother Ellen. The 1871 census tells us that Thomas, the father was a farmer of 40 acres aged 38. His wife was ten years older and there was a 23 year old step daughter, Sarah. In addition there were the following children in the household Elizabeth 13, Jane 11, Thomas 9, John 8, Orlando 5 and George 2
In 1881, Orlando aged 16 was living in Putney London. as under gardener for Arthur Bather, Principal Clerk at the Admiralty. Bather was born in Shrewsbury so this appears to be a Shropshire connection. In 1891 Orlando was probably in the Army. He married Annie Morris in 1899 in the Conwy Registration District and in 1901 Orlando 35 a gamekeeper and Annie Maria 37 were living at Llaneilan, Creuddyn, Caernarvonshire with daughter Miriam 1 month.
In the 1911 Census we find the family at Keepers Cottage, Rhydymwyn: Orlando Rowson, 45 gamekeeper b Churton Shropshire; Annie 47, Miriam 10 b Dolwen Denbighshire, George Edward 7 b Llangerniew Denbighshire. Following Orlando’s death, Annie’s address was given as “Wrexlea” Broncoed Park, Mold in the CWGC records and Tyddyn Cottages, Mold in his service record and the County of Flint Index. Annie Rowson died in October 1930 aged 67 and is buried at Mold Cemetery.
Orlando and Annie are known to have had two children, Miriam born 1901 who married John Farley in 1925 and George Edward born 1903 who married Eleanor Pugh in 1940. Miriam and George Edward both had children whose names are withheld from this website. Miriam Farley died in 1973.
From his service records, Orlando signed up for the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry in December 1884 when he was 18 and he served 12 years. He attested to the 17th Battalion, Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 12 March 1915. Orlando stated his age to be 45 years 0 months but from the census and his first service record we can determine that he was born in April or May 1866 and therefore really 48 when he joined up again. At that time, men who had previously served in the army would be accepted up to the age of 45 so it appears he lied or they colluded to get him in. When he was killed in action in January 1916 Orlando was 49 (a few months short of 50), and was the oldest soldier on the Buckley memorial.