James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants


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.]

The memorial service and dedication of the new vestry took place on 29 August 1916 and was extensively reported in the press. Y Llan, 8 Sept stated (in Welsh) "He was the first from the LIeyn to fall, and if we remember correctly, the first to enlist in the army. ... He was a friend to all without exception. This was evidenced by the large attendance of all beliefs that met together on Tuesday. The road from Pwllheli to Aberdaron was seen to be choked by vehicles, many of the occupants coming from Bangor and elsewhere. It brought together gentlemen from far and near, old school friends and current school pupils. We suggest that there were not many families in the area that were not represented at the service, so great was the respect shown in memory of the deceased. The sympathy with the remaining family was sincere; indeed, the faces of members of the congregation were often wet with tears and there was concern that speakers might struggle to complete their task without collapsing." Members of several of our Owen families attended the service.

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