Owen, William

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William Owen

60667, Private, 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Died of illness, 30 October 1917, aged 34
Buried at Basra War Cemetery, Iraq

CWGC registered (no family details)

William Owen was born in 1883, the son of John and Ann Owen. A little before William was born, the 1881 Census records the family living at “Ffrith Gerrig”: a farm in the parish of Eglwys Rhos, as Llanrhos was then called, but within the village boundary of Deganwy. John Owen was noted as a gamekeeper. In 1891 and 1901, the family’s address remained the same; John Owen was described as a farmer. In the latter survey, Willie, as his name was recorded, was described as a bricklayer. By 1911 the family had moved to “Ty Celyn”, Alexandra Road, Llandudno; John Owen was described as a labourer and William as a farm labourer.

William’s service record no longer exists though it is known that he enlisted at Bangor into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers with a regimental number of 60667. However, a record for a soldier with the number 60668 does exist. 60668, also destined for Mesopotamia, joined the reserve at the end of 1915, was called up to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 29 October 1916, trained with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Litherland, embarked at Devonport on 9 March 1917, disembarked at Bombay on 6 May 1917, embarked Bombay on 28 May 1917 and disembarked at Basra on 5 June 1917. It is quite possible that William’s early army experience was similar. In any event, he joined the 8th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers. The battalion was the first of this regiment’s New Army battalions and was formed at Wrexham in 1914. After seeing action at Gallipoli, by March 1916, the battalion was in Mesopotamia.

William Owen died of enteric (typhoid) fever at the 33rd British General Hospital, Makina Masus, near Basra on 30 October 1917 aged 34 and was buried at Basra War Cemetery. Basra had been in British hands since December 1914. It is noteworthy that more British soldiers died during the Mesopotamia campaign than were killed in action. His commanding general died of cholera at about this time.


Known memorials:

  • Llandudno Roll of Honour
  • Llandudno War Memorial
  • Memorial Chapel, Holy Trinity Church, Llandudno
  • Llanrhos Parish War Memorial, All Saint’s Church, Deganwy
  • Eglwys Ebeneser, Lloyd Street, Llandudno

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