Isabel Owen (1831-1895) 21



James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Idris Robert Jones

Robert and Isabella's youngest child, Idris Robert Jones, was born on 20 June 1891. Erroneously, a daughter, Idris, aged 10, and a Mrs R L Jones embarked at Philadelphia aboard the Waesland on 18 May, 1901 bound for Liverpool. An Idris R Jones made another crossing from Philadelphia arriving at Liverpool at the end of June 1910 aboard the Haverford; there was a lady, R L Jones on the same crossing who, like Idris stated she was a tourist, though Idris, 'Gent', appears to have returned alone aboard the Haverford six weeks later.

When Idris registered at Peach Bottom for military service in June 1917 he was managing R L Jones Slate Co. in Delta. His registration card indicates he was single, tall and slender with blue eyes and light brown hair. Sadly, between then and entering the army on 19 September at Red Lion, Pennsylvania, he lost both his eldest brother and his mother.

He joined Co. F, 316th Inf. 79th Div. and after a year's training he found himself in Brest, France, in July 1918 and in the forward trenches two months later. Idris saw action in Sector 304 , Meuse Argonne, Montfaucon, Troyon Sector and La Grande Montagne. 79th Division relieved a French Division in Sector 304, part of the Verdun battlefield, which was a scene of devastation after four years of fighting, pock-marked with shell holes and traversed by a myriad of trenches. When the Meuse-Argonne Offensive began on 26 September 1918, the Germans were confident that their positions were impregnable. The battle that ensued would last until the Armistice and has been described as the second-deadliest battle in American history. Poor tactics and inexperienced troops contributed to the losses and Idris would later write that he hated war: "I fought in hand-to-hand battle as a combat infantryman in the Meuse-Argonne drive in World War I. Our outfit entered this combat with 215 men and came out with 85. ... 1 received and am now carrying a disability from that battle." [The Evening Sun, 3 Nov 1952, p5]. However, in his Veteran’s Compensation Application he had reported no serious injury, in which case he was very lucky; 26,277 Americans were killed and 95,786 wounded in the six weeks of fighting. Perhaps it was the losses that caused his transfer to C Company on 8 November. He was honourably discharged as a sergeant on 7 June 1919 at Camp Dix, New Jersey.