RFA West Lancs Bdes
681463 GNR. P. F. OWEN. R.F.A.
Percival Frederick Owen was born on 16 August 1892 in Walton, Liverpool, and baptised at Liverpool St Peter’s on 28 December that year. His father was William Owen (b. 1860 in Llanbrynmair, Montgomeryshire), a grocery store manager and inspector of shops. His mother was Mary Elizabeth Hickson (b. 1855 in Market Drayton, Shropshire). William and Mary were married in Liverpool in 1884 and they had four children, all boys: William Stanley (b. 1885), James Randolph (b. 1887), Sydney Hickson (b. 1889) and the youngest, Percy. In 1911, the family was living at 164 Fountains Road, Walton. Percy was working as a grocer’s assistant in the same firm as his father (Ridgway Ltd.).
Percy’s service number (681463) is in a batch of numbers assigned to men from Liverpool who signed up, probably in 1915, and were for the most part assigned to “D” Battery of 286 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. It seems likely that Percy completed his training with his mates from Liverpool but at some stage he was posted to “D” Battery in 180th Brigade. 180Bde formed part of the Divisional artillery for 16th (Irish) Division. 16th Division landed in France in December 1915 but Percy would have joined them later, among reinforcements following some of 16th Division’s engagements. The Division fought on the Somme in 1916, at Guillemont and Ginchy; in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917, at Messines and Langemark; and during the German Spring Offensive in 1918 at St Quentin and Rosières.
I don’t know the precise details of the action in which Percy was killed, but he lost his life near La Couture (between Béthune and Armentières) on 19 April 1918. He was 25 years old.
Service Number: 681463
Date of Death: 19 April 1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “D” Bty., 108Bde
Cemetery/memorial reference: VII. E. 2.
Cemetery: VIEILLE-CHAPELLE NEW MILITARY CEMETERY, LACOUTURE
Additional Information: Son of William and Mary Elizabeth Owen, of "Lynton”, School Road, Hightown, Liverpool.
Percy’s brother, Sydney (b. 1889) also served in the Army. In 1914, Sydney had married Ethel Brookfield (b. 1891 in Liverpool) and he enlisted on 12 May 1916. He may have been conscripted but in any case he was posted to the Labour Corps and assigned service number 523732. I don’t know where he served but he was discharged because of illness on 15 May 1918.
I haven’t found any military records for the two older brothers.