James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Character, interests, death

John’s obituary in the Times stated:

Morgan-Owen was admirably suited to the judicial role. Clear-minded, succinct, unfailingly courteous and capable of firmness when needed, he added to these qualities a detestation of injustice or unfairness, especially when perpetrated by authority. To describe his manner in his official capacity as always "correct" would be to suggest a stiffness altogether absent from it. He was always relaxed, natural and informal and in his face-to-face dealings with others never less than polite and in full control of himself. Quietly witty and surprisingly well read to the point of unassuming erudition, he had in his days at the Welsh Bar known both Dylan Thomas and Kingsley Amis and been welcome in their company, though not sharing their capacity for alcohol.

Though he was an outstandingly successful Judge Advocate General respected and personally liked by both the services he served, he chose to take early retirement to allow a colleague, who would otherwise have passed beyond the maximum age, to assume the office.

Always intensely proud of his Welsh origins, he set himself in his seventies to learn to speak Welsh. A keen beagler, he continued to follow that sport until well into his eighties. Tennis, he said gave him up when he was 68, to be succeeded by croquet.

In "Who’s Who", he listed his recreations as bad tennis, inland waterways, and beagling. Having risen to the top of his chosen profession within the forces John was further honoured in 1981 by being appointed a Queens Council. He was also an honorary member of the Societé Internationale de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre and was appointed a CB in 1984. From 1985 until his retirement in 1987 he was Joint Chairman of the Disciplinary Commission, ICA. During his last posting he had the misfortune to lose most of his possessions in a warehouse fire. In retirement he and his wife lived in Hampshire.

John died on January 17, 2008, aged 93. He is survived by his wife and there are living descendants.