James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Argentina, Return & Enlistment

Gurth's letters home showed that he continued to enjoy life in Argentina and I was sent transcriptions of two extracts:

"I went to the championship tennis finals the other day. The players were moderate. On Monday I had my first game of golf at San Andreas. The course was good and varied but the greens were bad. I played with a little parson,- an awfully bad player, whom I defeated with consummate ease. He gave me no game at all, but what was more to the point, an excellent lunch & days enjoyment."

"On May 25th we had great celebrations out here: fireworks & a military review, to which I went representing the Welsh Navy. The procession was led by English blue jackets & Uruguaian marines, the latter of whom borrowed the municipal band of Montevideo, not possessing a naval band & the military band being so awful. The town band was dressed up in sailor’s uniform, as the marines could not march behind civilians! Another curious thing about them was the main gun was dragged by mules, for which a special stable had been built on board their gunboat - a regular sardine tin! All this was done to show the Argentines the glory of their Navy. All the festivities were to celebrate the independence – also incidentally to rub it into Spain. Still the nation is young and has no history as yet, and will grow out of it in time."

When Gurth returned from Montevideo, aboard RMS Tanui, arriving in London on 7 January 1913, he stated that Argentina was his permanent country of residence but, when he travelled from Montevideo on 17 January 1915, aboard SS Iconic, he stated his intention to live back in UK. He wanted to enlist but he had a shoulder that was prone to dislocatation, which would have led to his being certified unfit for service, so he got a friend who was a doctor to pass him fit. This was accepted by the army and he enlisted at Newtown on 22 January 1915. He joined his brother Gethin’s regiment, The South Wales Borderers, and attended training camps at Woking, at Brecon and at Kimnel Park, near Rhyl.