Frank Owen, Private 18896, 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Died 25th June 1916 in Mesopotamia (Iraq), aged 26
Frank Owen was born on 13th June and baptised on 10th August 1890 at St George’s Church, Sutton, Macclesfield, the son of Charlotte Ann and Isaac Owen, a joiner. In 1891, ten month old Frank was living at 131 High Street, Sutton, with his parents and siblings John W (10), Lottie (8), Ethel M (6), Mary H (3) and Sarah A (2). By the time Frank started attending Sutton St George (London Road) School on 9th November 1896, the family had moved to Cross Street.
By 1901 the family had moved to 132 New Lane, Eccles, Lancashire, and included seven year old Albert. Ten years later, at the age of twenty, Frank had left home and was lodging with Mr and Mrs Grayson at 4 School Street, Gin Pits, Astley, near Manchester, employed as a collier’s labourer (above ground).
Frank married Ellen Blackburn in the summer of 1911 at St Andrew’s Church, Eccles, and the couple later moved to Macclesfield.
Frank enlisted into the 9th Cheshire Regiment soon after the start of the war, and after training was drafted to France on 19th July 1915. He fought at the Battle of Loos and was invalided home, suffering from the effects of gas. After recuperation he was sent to Kut with the 8th Cheshire Regiment.
It is not known when and where Frank became ill with paratyphoid fever but he died of this illness on 25th June 1916, aged 26.
His death was reported in the Macclesfield Times of 21st June, 1916:
DIED ON ACTIVE SERVICE – FOUGHT IN FRANCE AND MESOPOTAMIA
Mrs Owen, Park Lane, Macclesfield, has been informed that her husband, Corporal Frank Owen, 8th Cheshire Regt, died of disease on June 25th.
Corporal Owen was 26 years of age and had been married five years. He was the son of Mr and Mrs I Owen, formerly of Cross Street and now of Manchester. The deceased soldier was educated at the Centenary Day School, and later went to live at Manchester, returning to Macclesfield about two years ago. He attended the Lord Street Sunday School. Enlisting in the 9th Cheshires shortly after the commencement of the war, the deceased went out to France over twelve months ago, and was “gassed” at Loos. He was subsequently invalided home and was in hospital at Sheffield. Upon his recovery Corporal Owen was transferred to the 8th Cheshires and sent out with the relief force to Kut. The last letter Mrs Owen received from her husband was dated May 3rd.
Private Frank Owen is buried in Grave Ref. V. C. 5. at the Amara War Cemetery, Iraq.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Frank Owen, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private Frank Owen is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall and St Michael’s Church war memorials. Elsewhere, he is remembered on a family headstone in Peel Green Cemetery, Eccles.