James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants


The service records state that small articles were handed to a relative of deceased by O.C. no. 1 Red Cross Hospital and Llan, 10 December 1915 reported that his father arrived in time to be with him when he died. I have visited his grave at Etaples. Like all military cemeteries it is beautifully kept. Etaples was the site of several field hospitals which is why so many British troops lie buried there in the countryside above the River Canche, overlooking a broad sweeping bay. Vernon’s grave is in the highest tier, looking across the sea towards the south coast of Britain Written on his gravestone are the words, CORONWYD TI N ARWR YN MORE DY DDYDD, a line from the poem ‘Y Milwr Na Ddychwel’ by John Ceiriog Hughes.

In due course the required military forms were completed but there was nothing like the exchange of correspondence that following the death of Vernon’s cousin, William Henry Kenrick Owen, or that of John Gurth Morgan-Owen. In the fullness of time, the family received £76-14s-4d on his account.

The Cambrian News and Merionethshire Standard, 5 September 1919 said that his cricket bat lay under the Roll of Honour at Friars School.

Vernon’s name appears on a memorial at Bangor University where he was studying for the ministry and on two memorials in Bangor Cathedral. In the church of St Hywyn, Aberdaron a vestry was dedicated to his memory: 'In ever affectionate memory of Lieut. Vernon E. Owen 9th (Ser.) Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, dearly loved and only son of the Vicar of Aberdaron, who died of wounds received on active service at Festubert, France, November 29th, 1915, aged 22 years. This was erected by Aberdaron Church people and neighbouring friends as a testimony of their deep respect for the first volunteer from the parish during the Great European War”. For many years a photo of Vernon was displayed on the wall inside. [The photo was removed when the vestry was redecorated; if you knows of its whereabouts I would be delighted to hear from you.]

[I have chosen this poem in memory of the two cousins, William (Billy) Henry Kenrick Owen and Vernon Elias Owen.]