James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Living in London and WWI Service

In 1905 Oswald and May were living in rented accommodation, "Two rooms, first and ground floors, furnished", at 19 Alexandria Road, Ealing. By 1908, the family occupied a house at 54 Ormiston Road, Ealing. The Aberystwyth Observer reported on 22 December, 1910, that Oswald had won a quarter share (£50), in "Answers £200 Football Results Forecast, Competition". In 1911 Oswald was still teaching and he and his family had moved to 105 Coningham Road, W London. Between at least 1917 and 1924 they lived at 17 Sedgeford Road, Ealing, initially with May's mother, Elizabeth Ann Fynn, until she died in 1922. Oswald's address when he enlisted at Hammersmith Town Hall on 9 January 1914 was 105 Coningham Road but this was subsequently amended to 17 Sedgeford Road. he was already in the National Reserve Force and had served in the Hereford Rifle Volunteers though I have no evidence that he saw active service with them.

His medical report from the day before states that he was aged 42 years and 145 days, which would suggest he had been born on 15 August 1872. He was 5 feet 9 ½ inches tall, had an expanded chest measurement of 37 inches and appears to have weighed almost 11 stone (figure not clear). He joined the 18th County of London Corps (London Irish Rifles), in which he served throughout the war. His rank of Private in No 32 Supernumerary Company, T.F. almost immediately rose to Lance Corporal in No 102 Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps. (Supernumerary Companies became part of the Royal Defence Corps when this was formed in April 1916.) Men in these companies were generally unfit for service overseas, often due to their age, and they were usually deployed to guard important, vulnerable sites on the home front.

At various times in 1917 Oswald was moved between Royal Defence Corps companies in the London area. He was promoted Corporal on 5 May 1917 and was officially demobilised on 26 January 1919. On 26 June 1918 he was re-examined medically at Ballincollig, near, Cork, where there was a large military barracks, and classified BII* Class 2. His identity certificate at the end of his service stated that “Irish” was his “Theatre of War or Command” and latterly he appears to have been involved in card(?) dispatch.