Rank & Number: Company Sgt Major
Regiment: 11th RWF, 15151 3rd East Surrey Regiment
Cemetery / Memorial: Doiran Military cemetery, Greece (ref. II.F.16)
18th September 1918, aged 42 (during the Battle of Doiran, Greece — on his 42nd birthday)
Excerpts taken from the following book:
Dr Bridget Osborne, We Will Remember Them… The Men of Eglwysbach and Llansanffraid who served in the Great War, 2016
Life / Background:
Benjamin Thomas Owens was born (18th September 1876) in Haverfordwest. His father, another Benjamin, was a police constable, but it appears he may have died at a young age. His mother, Ann, was alone with her children and working as a washerwoman in 1881, whilst lodging in the Hayguard in Haverfordwest (her status was “lodger” rather than widow or wife). Ben had older siblings; Elizabeth, Ellen, Frederick, Hugh and Edgar. It is possible that his mother had also died by 1891, when 15 year old Ben was working as a port messenger boy and living with his sister Ellen and her husband William Harries in Church Street, Haverfordwest.
In 1893 Ben joined the 3rd East Surrey Regiment and the census shows he was with them in the Kingston Barracks in 1911, at which time he had been promoted to the rank of sergeant. The East Surreys became part of the Special reserve in 1908, but Ben left the Regiment in 1911 and in 1914 he was living in Glan Conwy. He enlisted in Colwyn Bay, probably at the beginning of September 1914. He went over to France with the 11th Battalion on 5th September 1915, moving almost immediately on to Salonika. He is shown on a list of wounded from the RWF in the Times, dated in March 1917.
He was killed in the Battle of Doiran on his 42nd birthday in 1918.