Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Philip Charles Owen was born at Hordley, nr. Ellesmere, on 1st May, 1897. He was baptised on 30th May, 1897 at Hordley Parish Church where his father, Loftus Meade Owen, was Rector.
Philip was educated at Millmead School, Shrewsbury, and St. Edward's School, Oxford.
Philip joined the 9th Battalion King's Shropshire Light Infantry but was soon transferred to the 5th Battalion. He went to France in May 1915 and was killed in action on 25th September 1915. He is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.
Second Lieutenant Philip Charles Owen, 9th KSLI att. 5th KSLI, was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and the 1915 Star.
OWEN, PHILIP CHARLES, 2nd Lieut., 9th (Service) Battn. The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry), s. of the Rev. Loftus Meade Owen, Rector of Stockton, Shifnal, co. Salop; b. Ellesmere, co. Salop, 1 May, 1897; educ. Millmead, Shrewsbury, and St. Edward's School, Oxford; was employed in the offices of the Eastern Telegraph Company. Electra House, London, E.C.; joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. 5 Aug. 1914, the day after war was declared; gazetted 2nd Lieut. 9th Battn. The King's (Shropshire Light Infantry) 5 Oct. 1914, and promoted Lieut.; trained with the 5th Battn., with which he went to France 20 May, 1915, and was killed in action at Bellewaarde Farm, 25 Sept. following, during an attack on the German trenches. The Commanding Officer of the 5th Battn., Lieut.-Col. C. C. Barrett, wrote: "Lieut. P. C. Owen was killed on 25 Sept. while gallantly leading his platoon in an attack on the German trenches. I beg to assure you of the sympathy of all ranks of this battalion, who deplore the loss of a brave and efficient officer and a popular man." Unm.[De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour]
[LAST ACTION OF HOOGE]
[In bivouac two miles north-west of Poperinghe.] Here rehearsals for an attack were gone through, and on the night 23rd/24th of September the battalion in fighting order, strength 17 officers, 780 other ranks, moved up to Ypres by train. The trenches in Railway Wood were occupied by the battalion in preparation for the attack which was to be made on the following day with the object of holding back German troops from the Battle of Loos.
At 3.50 a.m. on the 24th September our guns bombarded the enemy trenches till 4.20 a.m. Retaliation immediately followed and a bombardment of our trenches was maintained throughout the day, resulting in Captain S. G. Beaumont being killed and 8 other ranks wounded.
At 3.50 a.m. on 25th our artillery again intensely bombarded the enemy trenches and at 4.5 a.m. the battalion was in position for the assault. A and D companies and half B Company with two machine guns and signallers were in company column in front of our own trenches, and half B and C Companies in support in the trenches.
At 4.20 a.m. the assault took place and, as far as the battalion was concerned, was successful in that it carried out its allotted task and reached the second line of enemy trenches. The battalions on the right and left, however, were not able to reach their objectives, and consequently, when the Germans brought up fresh troops for the counter-attack, the position of the 5th K.S.L.I, became untenable, and there was nothing to do but to retire to the original line — or what was left of it — as the trenches had been filled in almost everywhere by the German shell fire.
This retirement was effected about 8.15 a.m., the losses being very heavy, so much so that later in the day it was necessary to reinforce the remnants of the battalion by two platoons of the 6th Somerset L.I. The Germans bombarded the trenches heavily up till 1 p.m., and again from 9 p.m. till midnight. Just before midnight the battalion was relieved by the 6th D.C.L.I, and returned to billets near Poperinghe.
The casualties during the attack were 7 officers killed and 5 wounded, 41 other ranks killed, 280 wounded, 100 missing, 7 wounded and missing. Names of officers killed: Capts. R. S. Clarke, C. W. Mould, F. H. W. Hunt, Lieut. W. F. W. Shields, 2nd Lieuts. P. C. Owen, C. C. Smith, and A. 0. Egerton. [Wood pp.135-136]
LIEUTENANT P. C. OWEN
[Bridgnorth Journal, Saturday 16h October, 1915]
Lieutenant Philip Charles Owen, 5th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, who was killed in action in France on the 25th ult. was the second son of the Rev. Loftus M. Owen, rector of Stockton, near Bridgnorth. Aged only 18 years, Lieutenant Owen was educated at Mill Mead, Shrewsbury, and at St Edward’s School, Oxford. He joined the Inns of Court Officers’ Training Corps in the first week of August last year, and obtained a commission the following October. A month before his death he was promoted Lieutenant. He was at first reported “missing” after the great advance, but he is now stated to have been killed in action.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.