James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Ivy May Owen ... 4

On 8 May 1909, at the Church of St Mary, Hanwell, Ealing, Ivy married Launcelot Fowler [Brentford 1909, 2nd qt]. At the time they were both living in Hanwell and Launcelot, seven years Ivy’s senior, was an engineer. On their marriage certificate Ivy's father was recorded as Edwin James Owen (further evidence that Ivy was never officially adopted).

Launcelot had been born on 19 June 1880 in Bedford and was raised there. Although he was christened ‘Launcelot Thomas Fowler’ at St. Mary’s Church, Bedford on 29 Dec 1880, he was known simply as Launcelot Fowler in civil records. He was the eldest of seven children, whom his father, Thomas, was left to raise when his wife Fanny (née Larkins) died, aged forty seven, in the winter of 1898-9 [Bedford 1899, 1st qt]. Thomas was an ‘iron moulder’, probably employed at the Britannia Iron Works, which had been opened on Kempston Road, Bedford, opposite Bedford Hospital, in 1859 and his sons followed him into the industry; the family lived in Millbrook Road, about six miles south of the works but several of the children were christened at St Stephens Church, Kempston, which was a district of Bedford. Launcelot, who became an ‘iron turner’ at the works, saw new opportunities opening up with industrial expansion in Middlesex, which led him to move there early in the twentieth century. His father remarried in 1908.

Tragically, like Ivy, Launcelot lost a brother in WWI; Claude Oliver Fowler, three years younger than Launcelot, was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant into the 5th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment, on 31 July 1918, though it was the Beds' 1st Battalion he joined in France on 7 October 1918, just before the final advance in the Picardy region. On 23 October 1918, during the first battle in which he was involved, an assault on the village of Beaurain, 25 km east of Cambrai, Claude was killed; this was just two weeks before the end of the war. He is buried in the Amerval Communal Cemetery Extension in Solesmes. Interestingly, in 1901 another brother, Bernard (13), was an apprentice racing jockey at Foxhill, Walborough, Wiltshire, the stables and gallops owned by trainer William Thomas (aka Jack) Robinson (1868-1918). I do not know what became of Bernard but a photograph shows him looking quite dapper in middle age.