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John Henry Owen was born in Runcorn in 1882 and was the son of Jessie and David Owen.

John was 28 years 8 months old when he first try to sign up after War broke out. He had previously served with the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Regiment becoming time expired. John first enlisted on 19th August 1914 and was posted into the 6th (Service) Battalion but he was discharged 39 days later due to ‘medical unfitness’.

A month later he joined as a Special Reservist and was given the number 4608.  At the time of his enlistment in Salford on 26th October 1914 he was living with his wife, Florence Owen (nee Ward) at 39 Higson Street, Salford, Manchester. John and Florence had married on 16th May 1903 at St Clement’s Church in Chorlton-cum-Hardy. The couple had one son, John, who was born in October 1904 and they were expecting another child. Private Owen would never meet his daughter; Hilda was born on 8th June 1915.


St Clement’s Church in Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Private John Owen was posted to the Depot at Fulwood Barracks the day after he enlisted, on 27th October 1914.

A regimental entry on his conduct street shows that John was supposed to proceed to Felixstowe for training on 5th November 1914 but was found to be still at the barracks in Preston the following day. For this he was punished by being confined to barracks for five days and forfeited one days pay.

Three days having passed since his punishment expired, on 14th November 1914 at Fulwood Barracks, John died from alcohol poisoning. He was buried in Preston (New Hall Lane) Cemetery.


By October 1915 Florence had moved to 4 Higson Street, Salford, Manchester. Florence applied for a war pension but was informed that ‘… in view of the circumstances of the death.. the widow is not eligible for a pension from Army funds’.



Rank: Private
Service No: 4608
Date of Death: 14/11/1914 (D)
Age: 31, 29*
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, Depot.

* CWGC incorrectly records his age as 31. He was in fact 29 years old. I have sent evidence to CWGC in order to change their records.

Paul McCormick
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