Owens, Wilfred

Wilfred Owens was the son of William and Martha Owens (formerly Peters), Cycle Depot, Chester Road. The 199 census shows William and Martha had 6 children all still living. The family at Spon Green were William 40 coal miner; Martha 41 b Doddleston; Edward, Wilfred, William, George, Edwin, Miriam and Rebecca Peters 72. Wilfred was the uncle of Wilf Owens of Padeswood Road. There are various images of Wilfred, his grave, medals and letters on the Buckley Archive CD

Wilfred attested 27 Feb 1917 when he was 18 years and 8 months old and listed as a cycle apprentice. His record shows that he originally joined the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry and later transferred to the South Wales Borderers then the Welsh Regiment and then the Border regiment.

From Buckley at War

He was conscripted despite the fact that the medical board acknowledged that he suffered from heart and lung problems and in the last desperate years of the war he was shipped out to France. His parents kept a motorcycle and bike shop and dealt in antique and second-hand furniture in their garage and shop at Lane End. The young solider came from a Christian background and in his letters home he wrote of the many temptations to which army life exposed him. He reassured his parents that ’I have been able to resist them and mean to be a good lad for the sake of my parents & brothers & sisters’. Wilfred always expressed his gratitude for the letters and food parcels he received form Buckley, in particular he mentions the receipt of the Flintshire Observer, Christian Herald and the Motor Cycle, which was his main interest. At one time he looked for a transfer to the Tank Corps and congratulated his father on the purchase of a Harley-Davidson and Triumph motor cycles. He constantly made references to his family and the people he knew at Lane End – Horace Beavan of the Feathers Inn, Croppers Cinema, Richardson’s Coaches, Stanley Parry Corn merchant and others.

In his last letter, Private Owens excused his failure to write ’through being too busy scrapping,’ remarking that ’we are expecting peace soon and all of us returning to you.’ Within a week he perished of machine-gun wounds in pursuit of the retreating Germans in the attack on the Canal du Nord Line.

Wilfred Owens death was reported in newspaper accounts.

County Herald, September 27, 1918

The death from wounds received in action is reported of Private Wilfred Owens, who was about twenty years of age, and had been on active service nearly twelve months. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William Owens, Cycle Depot, Chester Road and before joining up he assisted his father in the cycle business. He is the third scholar of the United Methodist Sunday School whose deaths were reported in the same week.

County Herald, October 1918

A crowded congregation attended the recent Sunday evening service in the United Methodist Church, in memory of three scholars who fell in battle during the month of September from this place of worship, namely, Corporal Charles Shaw, of Spon Green; Corporal Alexander Connah, Spon Green, and Private Wilfred Owens, of Chester Road. The service was conducted by Mr. William Davies and Mr. George Peters. Touching references were made to the high qualities of the fallen heroes, and letters were read from them to the Comfort Fund in acknowledgement of gifts they had received. It was stated during the service that only six weeks previously Corporal C. Shaw was present at three services at the chapel. The anthems “Vital Spark” and “Sleep on Beloved,” were rendered. At the close of the service the Organist played the “Dead March.”

Learn more about the other soldiers on the Buckley Memorial

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