Owens, George Thomas (Owen on the Memorial)

George Thomas Owens was born circa 1913, his birth being registered in Hawarden, (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/16A/53). He was the son of George Ellis & Eveline Owens (nee Taylor), who married in Bucklow, Cheshire in the September quarter of 1912 (Trafford ALT/29/192).  The district Bucklow spans the boundaries of the counties of Cheshire and Lancashire.

George Ellis Owens is seen on the 1911 census visiting, I believe, his mother’s brother Ellis Hughes, who was living at Ruthin Castle, which I believe was a pub  in New Street, Mold, Flintshire, with his wife Mary Hughes age 51 years, she tells us that they had been married 19 years and no children had been born to them.   George Ellis Owens was age 30, single, an Iron Worker and described first as Nephew, which was crossed out and Visitor entered.   Another cousin was there, a David Hughes, 42 and single, a Stonemason.   There was also a servant, Bessie Roberts, age 16.   All the family were bilingual.

In 1911 Eveline Taylor, George Thomas’s mother, was residing at a 12 room house, named the Gables, Knutsford, she was a servant, age 29 years, born Little Hulton, Lancashire.   On this census she and another servant, Ethel Annies were the only occupants at a Mr. Woodhouse’s home.

However, they had married in 1912 and must have moved to the district just after, as George Thomas was born in Hawarden, but what date they did move here, I don’t know, so any help would be appreciated as we also do not know of his early and teen years either.

We don’t see George Ellis & Eveline again until they are seen on the 1939 National Register, which was taken on the 29th September 1939.   They were living at 16 Chester Road, Shotton, Flintshire.   This source tells us the date of birth of George Ellis, the 23rd May 1880 and he worked at the Steelworks, sadly, his occupations is very hard to read.   Eveline’s date of birth was the 4th April 1881 and as most married women on this Register, who didn’t have a job, they were said to be doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   There is a redacted or closed record as well, but of course we do not know who this may be.

Earlier that year, in the June quarter of 1939, George Thomas Owens and May F. Davies married in Hawarden, (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 507).   The FREEMAN FAMILY TREE (davidsfreeman), tell us that the date of the marriage was the 10th April 1939.   Many thanks to them.

According to the Royal Artillery attestations 1883-1942, George Thomas was attested in 1938, so when he married and on the 1939 National Register he was already in the Services.

We find George Thomas’s wife on the 1939 National Register, living with her parents at 10, Ridgeway, Hawarden, Flintshire.   Her father, head of the household, was Arthur Davies, his date of birth – 16th April 1874, a General Labourer and her mother Florence G. Davies, date of birth 18th August 1876, doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”    Her name on this is Florence M. Owens, married, date of birth 11th May 1914, also as above on this register doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   This source also gives a hint of Florence May’s future as it lists the surname of the gentleman, (Arrowsmith), she eventually married after George Thomas lost his life in the war.   The enumerator also gave the date of her remarriage – 29th September 1947.

As stated earlier, George Thomas was in the Royal Artillery, and although he is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial, I did not know what his unit would have been involved with, so I appealed to WW2talk – and again, as usual I had a rely that may explain a little what he was involved in –

Drew5233#FuturePilotPatron1940 Obsessive

They weren’t at Dunkirk. They were part of 1st Armoured Division Support Group. If he was with the AT part of the regiment there’s a good possibility he would have been killed around/near Aumale fighting with the 2/6th East Surrey Regiment. They were supporting 51 Division and trying to slow the German advance as 51 Division was withdrawing eventually in to St. Valery. (Many thanks to Drew5233)

And adding to Andy’s responses… by MarkN a well known member, s mant thanks to him too:-

Quite correct. 239 ATk Battery was not at Dunkirk and took no part in the withdrawal to Dunkirk at all.   239 Battery was indeed one of the two ATk batteries in 101 AA/ATk RA. They were equipped with the standard 2-pdr ATk gun.

On 7 June, G and H troops bore the brunt of the attack on Aumale which began mid-afternoon. The claimed several tanks destroyed. However, this attack was carried out by 2.Inf-Div(mot) of Hoth’s XV Pz.Korps which probably had no tanks. Hoth’s two Panzer divisions were attacking elements a little further south.   The XV Pz.Korps KTB shows Aumale overrun and 2.Inf-Div(mot) well past it to the SW by the next day.

On the otherhand, 239 Battery were only ordered to leave at 0300 on 8 June in a NW direction then later in the day SW. No action appears to have taken pkace on the 8th. Just plenty of moving.

The Regiment was part of the force encircled with 51st Division around St.Valery.

From the whole regiment, 7 officers and 303 men made it back to England; most of the rest became POWs at St.Valery.

Posted 10th Jan 2020.

However, on the 8th June 1940, he paid the ultimate sacrifice, indeed his body was never found as he is remembered on the Dunkirk Memorial along with thousands of others.

Casualty List (Page 6) tells us that he is missing – “Date not reported.” While the Casualty List 1873 (Secret) 1945 shows us that the Army was still searching for him until 1945 and eventually lists him on this list as “Previously reported Missing, Date not reported, now Presumed Killed in Action,” – “On or shortly after 8th June 1940.”

His Casualty Card, below, tells the same story, but this also tells us that he was born in Pentre, Chester and his domicile was Queensferry, Chester.  His rank at time of death was “Gunner.”

Florence May Owens did marry Ernest Arrowsmith in the September quarter of 1947 (Hawarden Vol. 8a  Page 1209).

George Thomas was much loved and missed by his family, and they put his name forward to be added to the WW2 War Memorial in Hawarden.

Addendum:-  Thomas Handley Edwards from Hope, who was in the same regiment also died, 4 days before George, probably they knew each other, or at least knew they were from the same area.

Although George Owen and Thomas Handley Edwards died 4 days apart they were probably in the same battles and two local lads paid the supreme sacrifice for us all.  Neither of their bodies were found so they are remembered on the Memorial at Dunkirk.  They are also remembered on the Hawarden & Hope WW2 War Memorials, please click on the links.


Learn more about the other soldiers on the Hawarden Memorial

Back to top