James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants


After the battle the Turks and Arabs were seen in no man's land, stripping the dead and killing the wounded, contrasting with the heroic actions of Private James Fynn, a member of Gurth’s regiment, who went out after the withdrawal and bandaged a number of wounded men under heavy fire, making several journeys in order to do so before carrying a badly wounded man back to safety. For this he was awarded the Victoria Cross, one of three awarded for similar actions that day. Sannaiyat was finally taken in February 1917. Fynn was killed in action on 30 March 1917.

4/S.W.B’s casualties that Sunday in April 1916 were three officers killed, four wounded and one missing, six ORs killed, forty-three wounded and thirty-six missing. 2/Lieut. J. G. Morgan-Owen was listed as one of the officers killed.

The War Office sent the standard, stark telegram to Gurth’s father; it was dated 13th April: Deeply regret to inform you that report received from Basra ….. 2nd Lt. J.G. Morgan-Owen South Wales Borderers killed in action April 9th. Lord Kitchener expresses his sympathy. In his short military career Gurth was praised by Gen. Sir Stanley Maude for his "brilliant example". He was the only grandson of James and Susannah Owen to die in World War I, though at least three of their great-grandsons were subsequently killed in action on the Western Front. As often seems to be the case there was a protracted correspondence to resolve issues with the War Office, in which Gurth’s brothers and his father were involved. His sister Gwen wrote several times. Eventually matters were settled in November that year and a payment (net pay and gratuity) made of £56-16s-2d.