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Boughton, Dunkirk & Hernhill
War Memorials



HAROLD VINCENT OWEN

Private       G/17563

2nd Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment


who died on 27 September 1916          Age 20

Harold Vincent Owen was the son of Frank and Emily Owen of Boughton Street.  He was born at Perry Wood, Sheldwich in 1896. He was the younger brother of Frank Victor Owen, who was killed on the Somme two years later. Both are remembered with honour on the War Memorial at Dunkirk Church. In the 1901 census, the family were living at Little Stone Stile, Perry Wood, and his father’s occupation wais given as woodman/market gardener.  In the 1911 census, the family were living at Horselees, Dunkirk, and Harold was working as a farm boy. His brother Frank and his father were woodmen.


Private Owen is also remembered with honour at the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France (Pier and Face 7C).


On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured.


The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

Sources:

National Archives in association with Ancestry.com. 1901 and 1911 England census database.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission website: CWGC.org

Dunkirk Parish Magazine

Ancestry -  Linda Gray family tree

Photos - Owen and Linda Gray

Frank and Harold Owen


The Dunkirk Parish magazines of 1915/1916 briefly included a feature “NEWS FROM OUR BOYS SERVING WITH H.M. FORCES”, collected by the then headmaster of Dunkirk School W.V. Burgess. It includes the following mention of this man:


December 1915 - Harold Owen has been accepted for the R.E.K.M.R. and joins on 29 Nov.

Thiepval

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