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5378433 L/Cpl Harry OWEN 1 Ox & Bucks LI: KIA 13 Aug 1944


Hi Guys!

Really hoping someone might be able to add something to this...

I'm trying to write up a brief bio of the above guy, who appears on Holsworthy (Nth Devon) War Memorial. Interestingly, his name does not appear in alphabetical order, but has been added to the bottom of the list, presumably at a later date.

It appears as if his addition to the memorial is based purely on him having married a local girl in 1943.

He was born in Collycroft, Bedworth, Warwickshire in c.1908, I believe illegitimately, to Mary Ann Owen (the daughter of a Canal Boatman).
He was to have two older siblings - Muriel Annie (b1904) and Ernest Edward (b1906), a younger brother, Charles, was born in 1909 but died the next year. - His mother had married Southorn in 1910 (he appears to have been fairly well acquainted with the boys in blue previous to his marriage!)

1911 Census shows Harry living with his siblings, mother and step father (Southorn) in Bulkington, Nuneaton. States birth in Collycroft, Bedworth. I've been unable to locate him in the 1939 Reg (so perhaps a prewar reg).

That's where I've got too - then the edges begin to become fuzzy!

GRO gives his three siblings as all born within the Nuneaton Reg Dist, all with the surname of OWEN but with the mother's surname given as LENTON. Harry does not appear at all, under Owen, Lenton or Southorn. CWGC states Harry was the son of Edward Ernest and Mary Ann Owen, which makes me wonder if both Harry and his older brother Ernest Edward were the result of a relationship with an individual with the name Edward Ernest, but not the surname Owen. I've done a fairly exhaustive search of online newspapers in the hope of coming across and affiliation order for one or the other, but alas, nothing.

Harry married Alice Mary King in Holsworthy Reg Dist in Sept Qtr 1943. She appears in the 1939 Reg as working at Winsford Hospital in Halwill. I'll check the Parish Regs for Holwsorthy and Halwill next time I'm in the museum (I'm the historian for Holsworthy museum) to see if it's recorded there, but could just as well be a Registry Office marriage (so might have to order the certificate - though it's not really going to tell me much more than I already know).

I'd be truly grateful if anyone can add anything to this - however insignificant it may seem - it'll go towards building the story of his life.

Thanks guys!

PS. Just looking through some other non related research and not elements of the Ox & Bucks were in the area in mid 1940, after returning from Dunkirk, so he may have become acquainted with his future wife then.

Looks like a spelling error with mothers maiden name on the GRO site.

1907 - Dec 1/4 - Foleshill

Harry Owen
Mothers maiden name Lewton
My Grandfather killed in WW1 is on 2 War Memorials ,Ayrshire and County Down. Born in County Down moved to Ayrshire 1881 Census .Close relations in both places. Not sure if he was on the first war Memorial ,and then put on the new Memorial for both World Wars .
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Looks like a spelling error with mothers maiden name on the GRO site.

1907 - Dec 1/4 - Foleshill

Harry Owen
Mothers maiden name Lewton

Hi Julie - thanks for the reply. That at least clears up the mystery of the missing GRO entry - THANK YOU!

So know its trying to sort out WHY she chose to use the name Lenton - there is no OWEN-LENTON marriage (that I can find) that works

The 1911 Census evidence indicates that she was married to Henry Lott Southorn in 1910 (Dec Qtr) as Mary Ann OWEN - the children listed on the 1911 Census return match up to the GRO birth entries with the mother's surname of Lenton. Her place of birth in c1882 in Sowe is confirmed by a baptism - under the name of OWEN.

Having just written the above, I've just found a 1891 census extract for a Mary Ann LENTON, born c1882 Sowe, and daughter of John and Elizabeth Lenton - so, maybe we're making some progress. BUT I cant pinpoint a marriage between Mary Ann and an Edward Ernest Owen - any thoughts guys?
My Grandfather killed in WW1 is on 2 War Memorials ,Ayrshire and County Down. Born in County Down moved to Ayrshire 1881 Census .Close relations in both places.
Hi Ellie7

Although certainly not unusual for an individual to be on more than one memorial (I wrote a book a few years ago which included details of an individual who appeared on no less than EIGHT memorials in different towns and villages!) I'm pretty certain my guy's only connection with Holsworthy is through his marriage - which also means he was probably never a resident in the town. This would also explain the late addition to the memorial - he having been not considered 'eligible' on the original compilation of names.

Over the years I have come across many names who have only very tenuous connections with a district - it all seems to have come down to the 'selection process' chosen by the chosen committee. Of course, it might have been the case that his wife thought him not eligible whilst a later relative thought differently. A search of council records regarding the addition have drawn a blank sadly.
Children stayed there ,as did mine .Father was 7/8 when father was killed with a younger brother so would be well known in the town ,
Children stayed there ,as did mine .Father was 7/8 when father was killed with a younger brother so would be well known in the town ,
Alice Mary Owen died in Holsworthy in 1982 and there appears to have been no children from the marriage. It might help if I could find out when the name was added to the memorial - IF it was after Alice's death then it could well have been a family member...
Thanks Ellie

Looking out of my window, I can look across the road directly onto the memorial. It saddens me few people know anything regarding the lives of the names of those who appear on the memorial (hence the work I'm currently doing). Online lists are ok, as far as they go, but few give any detail other than a collection of online resources (CWGC date, GRO data etc), and nothing about their lives.

Being historian of Holsworthy Museum puts me in a position to access numerous local records and recollections held within our collections which go some way to bringing the names back to life, which, when combined with my other work, will allow many to have at least a brief insight into their lives.
Names were omitted from war memorials for a number of reasons. There seems to have been a view that there was a difference if death occurred outside the years of the war i.e. 1914 - 1919. Many who died slow, lingering deaths from wounds, poison gas or mental trauma were often not commemorated anywhere, not even in official records.

If your family had left the area or died out, so that no one remained who had information about you, you were very likely to be overlooked.
So he was living there in WW2
Yes i know of a ayrshire man

The late George Macintyre, an Ardrossanite, was honoured at the Shot at Dawn Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, by the dedication of a memorial bench. While President of the National Union of Journalists, George was a key figure in securing pardons for 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers who were shot a dawn during the first world war. The plate on his bench reads:-
Journalist and co-leader of Shot at Dawn, helped change history and lift a country’s shame from families of men and boys executed by their own side in WW1.
A friend of man, the friend of truth.

My work on the WW1 names on the memorial identified 5 who died after the end of the war - one as late as 1925. It really was up to the committee who went on and who didn't, and there were no set rules as to who should and who shouldn't be included. Interesting, one individual I came across (who died after the war) died of the lingering effects of having eaten a camel's stomach during the war - lovely! The In from the Cold project, which you might be aware was formed to identify and add many of those who had been forgotten to the CWGC rolls - though it's not a simple task, as I have found through hard experience.

No, Owen did not live in Holsworthy during the war, apart from a possible home leave visit. His wife lived here, hence his inclusion.
Well I cant find a marriage for Edward Ernest Owen and Mary Ann Lenton. But there’s Edward Owen born Sowe about 1872, living in the same area as Mary Ann. He is a miner/collier and is still single in 1911. Going to the 1881 census a Edward E Owen born 1873 Coventry living in Foleshill. Just speculation ?
Looking at the birth registrations the only one thats show’s up with year of birth 1871-1874 is a Edward Thomas district Foleshill. No Edward Ernest.
Thanks Julie

Frustrating isn't it! CWGC states Edward Ernest Owen and the information would have been provided by a family member, so someone who (you would have thought!) would have known (though never assume I guess!)

Mary Ann had remarried in 1910 so we know Edward must have died previous to that date and, if we also take into account that there is a birth of Charles (in 1909), then it seems probable that a marriage (IF there is one) took place 1903ish (birth of Muriel Annie on 1904) and the death of Edward was after 1907/08 (conception of Charles) and before late 1910 (second marriage of Mary). Hmmmmmm! Frustrating!
There’s an Edward OWEN died in June Qtr 1910, Foleshill Reg Dist, so a possible contender for the guy. Aged 38, which would make an estimated birth year of 1872.