Owen, Norman

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Norman Owen

201324, Second Lieutenant, No 63 Training Squadron, Royal Air Force
Flying accident, 3 June 1918, aged 24
Buried at St. Tudno’s Churchyard, Llandudno

CWGC registered (Son of Mary Jane Owen, of Canton House, Lloyd St, Llandudno, and the late David Owen)

Norman Owen was the second son of David Owen and his wife Mary Jane Owen (née Swain). He was born on 19 March 1894 at Llandudno. The Census of Wales for 1901 records the family living at “Rockwardine”, Caroline Street, Llandudno; David Owen was described as a painter/decorator. Norman (7) is recorded as having an elder brother Harold (9) and four sisters. Norman attended Lloyd Street School and, from 1907, John Bright School. His father, David Owen died on 20 December 1905 – the family’s address at the time was “Floville”, Llandudno. The Census for 1911 records Mary Jane Owen and five of her children living at “Canton House”, Lloyd Street, Llandudno. Mary Owen was described as a lodging-house keeper and Norman Owen (17) as a butcher’s assistant.

On 30 October 1914, Norman Owen joined the Royal Naval Air Service Armoured Car Section for the period of the hostilities. He claimed to be aged 20 but was a year younger. He gave his occupation as a motor driver and his service number was F1324. His experience gave him a promotion to petty officer mechanic and he initially served on the East Coast on home defence. He was with No 1 Squadron of the now-named Royal Naval Armoured Car Division when it sailed in March 1915 to Africa to help the South Africans invade German South-West Africa, now known as Namibia. The German surrender came on 9 July 1915 and whilst part of the squadron moved to East Africa, the rest, including Norman, returned to Britain. Norman’s unit was disbanded on 31 August 1915. He volunteered for further armoured car service in Russia but this was turned down on medical grounds. Since Norman had volunteered, then the unit’s disbandment resulted in his service having deemed to have terminated and he would have been liable to have been conscripted in 1916. In the event, he re-enlisted on 15 July 1916 for the duration of the hostilities. Nominally based at HMS President II, an accounting station, his rank was air mechanic second class. He served at Le Havre from 7 October 1916 as an acting air mechanic first class which was substantiated on 11 April 1917. On 19 January 1918, he was commissioned with the rank of probationary flight officer.

On 1 April 1918, the Royal Flying Corps, controlled by the British Army, and the Royal Naval Air Service, controlled by the Admiralty, merged and Norman was gazetted as a temporary second lieutenant in the new Royal Air Force on 17 May 1918 with a service number of 201324.

It was during this period of administrative fluidity that Norman Owen began his flying career at the Royal Naval Flying School at Eastchurch, Kent and received a pilot’s certificate in early May 1918. His flying training continued at No 63 Training Squadron at RAF Joyce Green near Dartford where pupils from preliminary flying training schools were instructed in combat flying.

Norman Owen was killed on 3 June 1918 aged 24 during a flying accident. His body was returned to Llandudno and he was buried in St. Tudno’s Churchyard on 7 June 1918.

Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Ysgol John Bright Roll of Honour

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