Private 57287 Joseph Owen

Owen Joseph 96 367x600

Killed in Action on Tuesday, 28th May 1918, age 18.
Commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, Aisne, France.

11th Bn., Lancashire Fusiliers. 74th Brigade of 25th Division.

Son of John Richard and Maria Owen, of 9, Lea Brook Rd., Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Ocker Hill, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Mark's Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1759607/

Genealogical Data

Joseph Owen was born 1 October 1899 at 1 Leabrook Road, Tipton. Son of John Owen (General Labourer) and Maria Owen (nee Shaw). He was one of 10 children.

1901 Census
6 Court 1 House, Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
John Richard Owen (28, Stationary Engine Stoker, born Bilston), his wife Maria (25, born Tipton), and their 2 children: John William (4, born Tipton), Joseph (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
9 Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton, Staffs.
John Richard Owen (38, Engineer, born Moxley), his wife Maria (35, born Tipton), and their 7 surviving children of 8: William (14, Worker at Tube Works, born Tipton), Joseph (11, School, born Tipton), James (9, born Tipton), Richard (8, born Tipton), Sarah (4, born Tipton), Alice (2, born Tipton), and Ada (1, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £2/8/3d (2 pounds, 8 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his mother, Maria, in November 1919. His War Gratuity was £5/0/0d (5 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in approximately February 1917.

Action resulting in his death

At the end of April 1918, five divisions of Commonwealth forces (IX Corps) were posted to the French 6th Army in the Soissons area to rest and refit following the German offensives on the Somme and Lys. This included the 25th Division, which was the last to arrive.

Here, at the end of May, they found themselves facing the overwhelming German attack which, despite fierce opposition, pushed the Allies back across the Aisne to the Marne. The Battle of the Aisne commenced on 27th May 1918, and continued until 6th June.

The Battle of the Aisne began with a German attack in the early morning mist of 27th May. Their superior numbers forced the British into retreat, albeit with some heroic stands to slow the German advance. At 10.00am, the remaining British reserves were brought into action, but by the evening the British line had been forced back over 3,000 yards.

Units of 25th Division were thrown piecemeal into action, they were all but destroyed. The 11th Lancashire Fusiliers, holding high ground north of the River Vesle, held out to the last man. The remnants of many units were temporarily joined into composite units, fighting a withdrawal as the enemy pressed on many miles across the River Marne.

The Battle of the Aisne continued until 6th June. The Germans succeeded in pushing the Allies across the Aisne and down as far as the Marne at Chateau Thierry, capturing Soissons as they did so.

Over 50 men of the 11th Lancashire Fusiliers were killed on the 28th May 1918, including Joseph Owen. Like most of his comrades killed that day, Joseph has no known grave and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Gazette August 9th 1918
Private Joseph Owen (57287), Lancashire Fusiliers is missing. He is the son of Mrs Owen, 9 Leabrook Road, Ocker Hill, Tipton. Private Owen was serving in France on 13th May 1918. His mother is very anxious for news, and will welcome any communications from her son's comrades.