Eric Wynn-Owen 1917-1999
Reginald and Nellie Owen’s second child was Eric Wynn Owen. He was born on 26 February 1917 at "Ericdale", Monmouth Road, Watford. The family was due to move to Farraline House (picture & more information) the next day and this may have brought on Nellie’s labour. In April he was very seriously ill with double pneumonia and it was thought he might not survive. His mother wrote a detailed account of events in his ‘baby book’; it would have been a horrific episode in any circumstances but particularly so in view of the fact Reginald and Nellie’s first son had died soon after birth. The vicar was sent for in a great hurry and Eric was baptised at 11 o’clock on the evening of April 17 at Farraline House. Against the odds, Eric survived.
My mother told me a touching tale of when the children were little; they were often put in the garden in their prams to have a nap and on one occasion Eric was found with a rather disgusting piece of stale bread in his hand. When asked where it had come from he replied, "A birdie gave it to me!"
Reginald had a tricycle with a wicker side car (See pictures of Eric as a child) and cycling though the gate at Farraline House he went over the gate stop and tipped Eric out of the sidecar, running over his ankle with the rear wheel. The resulting injury caused Eric considerable problems in later life.
Eric was only three when his grandmother Elizabeth Owen died at Farraline House but he remembered the steaming kettles in her bedroom to help her breathing. He was seven when his mother died. He described the scene when he last saw her: She was lying in bed, her limbs swollen from the effects of the cancer and the three children were excited because they were going to stay with their Aunt Mary. He, as a small boy was taken in to say goodbye to her but, just as he entered the room, he heard the sound of his aunt’s chauffeur-driven car on the gravel. He rushed out to see it, without saying a proper goodbye, and he never saw his mother again. He was far too young to understand at the time but seventy-five years on he remembered it with great regret.