Owen, Thomas H

Thomas Henry Owen was born in Prestatyn about 1898. In the 1901 Census for Wales, available on Ancestry, his family are living at 1, Ffordd Isa, Prestatyn. His father William Owen, age 30, was described as a furnace stoker, who had been born at Buckley, Flintshire. His mother Dorothy was 35, and had been born at Meliden. William John was 6, Thomas Henry was 3, and had both been born at Prestatyn. The parents spoke both Welsh and English, while the two boys spoke only Welsh.

The family was still at Ffordd Isa in the 1911 Wales Census. William Owen, (written as Owens), was 40, a bricklayer’s labourer, and his place of birth was given as Mold. Dorothy was 41, born at Gwaenysgor. William John, 15, was a shop assistant, Thomas Henry, 13, was at school, as also were Lily, 10, Robert, 7, and Jane, 5.These last three were born since the previous census. The parents had been married for 16 years, and Dorothy had given birth to 8 children, of whom 5 were living. All the family spoke Welsh.

Thomas’ service records have not survived, but there is a card for him in the Roll of Honour in the archives at Hawarden. It states that his period of service was 14 months, and is signed by his father, William Owen.

The website “Soldiers who Died in the Great War”, confirms the known details.

The South Lancashire Regiment was a line infantry regiment of the British Army, which recruited primarily in the south Lancashire area. It was created in 1881 as the “Prince of Wales Volunteers (south Lancashire Regiment)”, by the amalgamation of two regiments, and was known by this full title. Thomas belonged to the 7th Service Battalion.

The 7th was a battalion of the New Army, or Kitchener’s Army, and was formed at Warrington in September 1914 as part of the 56th Brigade in the 19th Western division .Their headquarters was at Peninsula Barracks, Warrington, and their nickname was “the Excellers.”(Long long Trail)

The New Army was initially an all-volunteer army of the British Army, formed in the United Kingdom from 1914 onward following the outbreak of hostilities in late July 1914.The original intention was that it would be formed and ready to be put into action in 1917, but circumstances dictated its use before then. (Wikipedia)

The battalion landed at Boulogne on 18th July 1915, and were in action many times, including the Battle of the Somme. In October 1917, at the time of Thomas’ death, they were involved in the Third Battle of Ypres.

There is an entry for Thomas in the website UK Army Registers of Soldier’s Effects. On 18th March 1918, his father William received a grant of £2 5s 6d, and on 29th November 1919, a War gratuity of £3.

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