James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Vernon Elias Owen (1893-1915)

Vernon E Owen Thomas and Eleanor's son, Vernon Elias Owen, was born on 20 September 1893 [Festiniog 1893 4th qt] in his father’s parish of Blaenau Festiniog, Merionethshire. He attended Friar’s School, Bangor – he was a resident pupil there in 1911 - and went on to study theology at the University College of North Wales (UCNW - now 'Bangor University'). Vernon was photographed as a member of the UCNW football team, 1913-14 (Click here for photo and more information). In 1914, this team had the satisfaction of winning a thrilling 'varsity series' against the local teacher training college, Bangor Normal College; they found a couple of strenuous defenders in "H. Ll." and "Vernon" [North Wales Chronicle and Advertiser For the Principality, 13 March 1914]. Vernon was described as, Unassuming and ever ready to do a good turn, he was very popular at Friars and at the University College. He was an enthusiastic footballer, having played for Friars, Bangor Athletic, the 'Varsity and the Bangor Town Club. On and off tho football field he always "played the game". [Ibid, 3 Dec. 1915]. The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 5 September 1919, said he was one of the finest football players of the Bangor College team, of which he was at one time captain. He too [like his father] was a fine cricketer."

Vernon was a member of the University College Officers' Training Corps. The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 11 September 1914 reported that Vernon, "having volunteered for foreign service during the war left on Friday for training on Salisbury Plain" but his army record indicates that it was not until 10 October 1914 that he enlisted as a private at his university. His medical report states that he was 5ft 7 1/2ins tall, weighed 126 lbs. and had good vision and physical development. He had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and brown hair. His mother signed his application form in which he asked to go into a N. Wales battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He joined up as a temporary 2nd Lieut. the 9th (service) Battn. RWF which had been formed at Wrexham on 9 September 1914. In September 1914 it was attached, as was that of his cousin William Henry Kenrick Owen’s Battalion, to 58th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division.