Driver 31980 Charlie Owen

Owen Charlie 96 350x500Owen Charlie 96 439x600

Killed in Action on Friday, 4th October 1918, age 31.
Buried in Grave B. 18. at Ribecourt Railway Cemetery, Nord, France.

Royal Field Artillery, 37th Division Ammunition Column. 37th Division.

Husband of Mrs Elizabeth Owen, of 18 Greystone Passage, Dudley, Worcs.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Dudley.

First landed France & Flanders, 29th July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Dudley Clock Tower memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/301868/

Genealogical Data

1891 Census
10 Badgers Square, Dudley, Worcs.
Edward Owen (46, Widower, Labourer, born Dudley), Lucy (17, born Dudley), Albert E. (13, Scholar, born Dudley), James (9, Scholar, born Dudley), William H. (5, Scholar, born Dudley) and Charles (3, born Dudley).

1901 Census
10 School Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Edward Owen (57, Widower, Blacksmith / Striker, born Dudley), and his 5 children: Lucy (27, Dressmaker, born Dudley), Albert E. (23, Brass Bedstead Fitter, born Dudley), James (19, Iron Plate Roller, born Dudley), William H. (15, Brass Chaser, born Dudley) and Charles (13, born Dudley).

1911 Census
22 Junction Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Albert Morris (36, Married, Bedstead Maker, born Dudley), his wife Lucy nee Owen (37, born Dudley),
Charles Owen (23, Boarder, Copper Embosser, born Dudley), Edward Owen (67, Widower, Jobbing Smith, born Dudley).
Lucy was the married daughter of Edward, and sister of Charles.

Marriage of Charles Owen and Elizabeth Hixon registered December quarter 1912 in Dudley. The birth of a son, Charles, was registered September quarter 1914 in Dudley.

Personal Data

The 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' says Driver C. Owen, R.F.A. There is only one C. Owen, RFA, killed in WW1, and no other Owen in the RFA from anywhere near the Tipton area, so there is no doubt that this casualty is correctly. Also the Tipton Herald of 2nd Nov 1918 contains an 'In Memoriam' from his sister Lucy, saying he was killed 4th October, he is the only Owen killed on that day.

So if he was born and resident in Dudley, why is he on a Tipton memorial? Probably because he was the son-in-law of Mr & Mr Hixon/Hickson of New Cross Street, Tipton. Their daughter Elizabeth had married Charles Owen in 1912 and was living in Greystone Passage, Dudley. It is possible that after the death of Charles she moved back to Tipton to live with her parents, or his parents-in-law decided to put his name forward for the Tipton Memorial.

After Charles's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £23/18/6d (23 pounds, 18 shillings and 6 pence); this was paid in January and April 1919. This was split £7/19/7d to his widow Elizabeth, and £15/18/11d to his son, Charles. His War Gratuity was £17/10/0d (17 pounds and 10 shillings), this was paid to his widow, Elizabeth, in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Charles had enlisted in approximately February 1915.

Action resulting in his death

The final phases of the Great War (known as the 100 Days) saw the Allies forcing back the Germans over the territory that the Germans had won during their Spring Offensive from March 21st 1918. By September the Allies were approaching the Hindenburg Line, the heavily fortified battle zone which the Germans had built during 1916 and 1917. Breaking the Hindenburg Line was essential to continue to force the German retreat.

The various battles constituting the 'Battles of the Hindenburg Line' date from the 12th September to 12th October 1918, with the Line being breached on 29th September by the 137th (Staffordshire) Brigade at Ricqueval Bridge.

On the 4th October, the Battle of Beaurevoir was underway. Charles belonged to the 37th Division who were not directly involved in this battle, but that would not mean they were at rest as working parties were constantly required. It was on that day, in an area about 10 miles south west of Cambrai that Charles Owen was killed. He is buried in Ribecourt Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald 2nd November 1918
In Memoriam
OWEN. - In loving memory of my dear brother Charlie, killed in action October 4th. In silence mourned by his sister Lucy.

Dudley Herald 2nd November 1918
News has been received from the War Office of the death of Driver Charles Owen of the R.F.A., who has been on active service in France three years and three months. He was killed in action on October 4th. He was 30 years of age and leaves a wife and child to mourn his loss. Before joining the army in January 1915, he was employed at Councillor Adshead's Paragon Works as a repousse worker (Editor: decorative metal worker), where he was much respected.
His brother, Private James Owen of the 7th Worcesters, was mortally wounded in France in May 1915. Another brother, Rifleman W.H. Owen, was also badly wounded in France in January 1915, and was discharged with a life pension. The above are sons of Mr Edwin Owen, Turner Street, Dudley.