Robert Owen was the son of Roger and Elizabeth Owen, and was born at Mold on 13th February 1899.
We first encounter his family on the 1901 Census for Wales, provided by Ancestry. They were living at Ty Draw, a prosperous farm in the Gwysaney area of Mold. Head of the family was Robert Owen aged 77, who was described as a farmer, a Methodist preacher, and an employer, who had been born at Llanllyfni, Caernarvonshire. His wife Mary was 70, and had been born in Penmorfa, Caernarvonshire. Their son Roger, Robert’s father, was 32, and had been born at Dolbenmaen, while Robert’s mother Elizabeth, also 32, had been born in Denbighshire. Their children were Blodwen A. aged 3, Robert aged 2, and Mary, aged 1, all born in Mold. There was also a general domestic servant Catherine Roberts, aged 18, and five male farm servants. Roger and his wife spoke Welsh and English, while all the others spoke only Welsh.
Ancestry records show that Roger and Elizabeth had married in Ruthin in 1896, and also that sadly, Roger had died in 1903, aged 34.
In the 1911 Census for Wales, we find Elizabeth now living at Dyffryn, Well Street, Ruthin. She is described as a widow, aged 39, born Llanynys, and living by private means. She had four children, these were Blodwen Ann aged 13, Robert aged 12, Mary aged 11, and Elizabeth, aged 7, who had been born since the last census. All were at school, and everyone spoke both languages. There was one servant, still Catherine Roberts, now aged 28.
The website Soldiers who Died in the Great War confirms the known details for Robert.
Sometime after the Census Robert moved to Prestatyn in order to work in a bank, we know this from his Army Records which have survived. These records show that he took the oath at Chester on 23rd September 1916, and was approved at Wrexham on March 6th, 1917. He was enlisted into the 65th Training Reserve. He gave his address as Roseberry House, Nant Hall Road, Prestatyn, and his occupation as a bank clerk. His age was 17 years and 7 months, and his height was 5 feet 6 inches. His chest measurement was 35 inches, 38 inches when expanded. His next of kin was his mother Elizabeth Owen of Clovelly, Ruthin, and his religion was Wesleyan.
Robert’s Service Records give further details.
He was attested on 23rd September 1916.
He joined the Reserve on 24th September 1916.
He was mobilised on 5th March 1917.
He was posted on 7th March 1917.
Also from these records we find that at Curragh Barracks on 6th December 1917 he was charged with improper conduct in the ranks, and was sentenced to two days confined to barracks. Still at Curragh he was deprived of 21 days’ pay for “overstaying his pass from tattoo 3/1/18 till 11pm 8/1/18. 121 hours.”
After enlistment in the 65th Reserve Battery, he was transferred to 213th Infantry Battalion, the 21st Grad Btn Cheshire Regiment.
The records inform that he embarked on 18/1/18
He disembarked on 19/1/18
He joined and was posted to the 11th Cheshires on 21/1/18 at Rouen, and joined the battalion in the field on 5/2/18. On 16/2/18 he was killed in action in the field. He had been with his battalion for 11 days.
There is a card for Robert in the Roll of Honour in the Hawarden Archives. His period of service is given as one year. In the space for his address is the stamp of the National and Provincial and Union Bank of England Ltd, and the card is signed by the manager. The signature is not legible.
In the declaration of all living relatives, in addition to his mother, his three sisters were named. They were Blodwen 22, Mary 20, and Betty 17.
On February 21st 1922, Mrs Elizabeth Owen signed for the receipt of his medals and scroll.
From the website listing Soldiers Effects we know that on 8th May 1918 Mrs Owen was awarded £2 15s 10d, money owing to Robert, and on 8th December 1919, a further £3 war gratuity.
Robert was killed three days after his 19th birthday.
He is also commemorated on the Ruthin memorial.