This impressive and unusual memorial in Anfield Cemetery bears a touching picture of Iorwerth Ap Owen on the side and was erected in his memory by his parents after his death on May 7th 1917.
Iorwerth Ap Roland Owen was born on July 22nd 1896 to Dr Roland and Mrs Margaret Owen. His father hailed from Anglesey, but the family lived in Seaforth. Iorwerth began his military career at Mill Hill School, joining the Officer Training Corps. He matriculated at London University in 1915 intending to become a doctor, but put his studies on hold to join the Inns of Court OTC. He pursued a boyhood interest in aviation by applying for a commission in the Royal Flying Corps and transferring to 17th Squadron at Croydon, received his ‘wings’ just six months into training in 1917.
Ten days later, Owen was sent to France. He died within the month.
“He will be an awful loss to the Squadron as he was such a good fellow and had made a particularly good beginning…”- Major Powell, commander of Owen’s squadron, writing to his parents
Second Lieutenant Owen and his observer AMII (Air Mechanic Class II) Reginald Hickling set out from Savy aerodrome at around 10:40am on 7th May 1917 on a photographic reconnaissance mission. Within the hour, they were flying above Arras when their plane was set upon by five enemy planes. By all accounts, Hickling died instantly; while Owen, shot in the head and chest, remained conscious enough to land his plane without accident, a skill he had been particularly proud of during training. He died soon after in a field ambulance without ever regaining consciousness and was buried in St Catherine’s British Military Cemetery, Arras.
Ironically, the German pilot credited with the kill, Lieutenant Karl Allmenröder, had also been destined for a career in medicine before war broke out. In Allmenröder’s highly successful but brief career, Owen’s was the tenth of 30 planes he shot down before his own death on 26 June 1917. He was aged just 21 at the time.
Louise McTigue is a freelance writer and researcher, writing on behalf of Sarsfield Memorials.