Iorwerth Ap Roland Owen was born at Seaforth in 1896 as was his only sister; Mona Eiluned who was born in 1899.
He was the son of Dr Rowland Owen and Margaret Owen (nee Owen) who were married in the West Derby Registration District in 1895.
His father, a physician and surgeon, was born at Holyhead, Anglesey and his mother at Bootle. Doctor Owen qualified at Edinburgh in 1883.
The family home was at Arley House, 37 Sandy Road, Seaforth from 1891 until Iorwerth's death.
His father was married twice and Iorwerth had a half-brother, Trevor Ap Roland with his first wife, Ellen Eliza Owen, who died in 1893.
Iorwerth joined Mill Hill School O.T.C. in 1915 and Inns of Court O.T.C. in 1916 and 1917.
He is remembered on the family grave at Anfield Cemetery.
An extensive biography appeared in Liverpool's Scroll of Fame. His photo appeared in the biography and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Liverpool Record Office.
17th Squadron,
AMONG the many new aspects of the art of war none are more worthy of Britain's pride than the splendid work of the members of the Royal Flying Corps in winning the mastery of the air. They were all heroes, and nearly all were boys, and many of them, when life still lay before them fair and untried, died willingly for their country in a service as romantic as it was hazardous. To this splendid company of eager young patriots belonged 2nd Lieut. Iorwerth Ap Roland Owen, son of Dr. and Mrs. Roland Owen, of Arley House, Seaforth. He was born on July 22nd, 1896, and his bright young life ended when only twenty years of age, in a death of honour in his country's service.
   Educated at Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, and at Mill Hill, under Sir John McClure, he became an enthusiastic member of the latter school's O.T.C. In August, 1915, he matriculated at London University with a view later of entering the medical profession, but he postponed his further course of study, and immediately joined the Inns of Court Officers' Training Corps. His first intention was to accept a commission offered him (after twelve months' infantry training) in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, but, having for some years taken an intense interest in aviation and the making of aeroplanes, his earlier predilections induced him instead to apply for a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, which was granted him in September, 1916. He was sent to the Flying School at Oxford until November 8th, when he was posted to the Reserve Squadron at Netheravon, Salisbury Plain, until December 6th, 1916. Then he was transferred to the 17th Squadron, at Croydon, where he remained until he received his "wings," on March 31st, 1917, after only six months training, during which he never had an accident in landing, a fact of which he was justifiably proud.
   After only four days' leave, and ten days after gaining his pilot's certificate, he was sent to France, and less than a month later, on May 7th, 1917, he was killed in action, while engaged in an unequal contest with five German planes. During his brief period in France he won for himself a fine reputation for daring and nerve, and succeeded in bringing down more than one hostile machine. Boy though he was in years, he proved himself a man in courage, steadfastness of purpose, and reliability. Physically he was a fine specimen of young manhood, standing 6 ft. 2 ins. in height. He was a keen lover of sport of all kinds, a great reader, a good musician and chess-player, and a dead shot with the rifle, and, possessing in addition a generous and happy disposition, he made friends wherever he went, who will long cherish the recollection of his cheery, whimsical personality.
   Major Powell, commanding the squadron in France, writing to his parents, stated, "He left the aerodrome about 11 a.m., and was out on photography with our best gunner observer, and, as far as we can hear, was attacked by five hostile machines. His observer was shot dead, and your son was shot in the head and chest. He seems to have remained conscious long enough to land his machine without an accident, when he landed just inside our lines about two o'clock. He died very soon after in the field ambulance, without suffering any pain or recovering consciousness. the following day he was buried with military honours at the British cemetery at St.Catherine's outside Arras, near to where his machine came down, having drifted some distance during the fight. He will be an awful loss to the squadron, as he was such a good fellow, and had made a particularly good beginning, and was a great favourite. Every officer in this squadron (the 13th) unites with me in sending our sincere sympathy to you in your time of sorrow."
   Deep sorrow, mingled with love and admiration, was the keynote of the many other tributes called forth by the tragic event. Captain Henderson, Commanding Officer of the Croydon Aerodrome, from whom he obtained his "Wings," on hearing the news personally from Dr. Owen, said - "Oh, I am sorry. He was such a capable aviator and a born scout. Well, I am glad he had his chance abroad. He and his friend Weekes were so very eager to get to France as soon as they could, and having trained all through and gone oversees together - only separating to different squadrons in France - it is a very strange coincidence that they should both have been killed the same day."
   Captain and Adjutant Staines, also at Croydon, wrote - "The sad news you brought on Monday came as a great shock to your son's friends here. He was admired by all who were training with him, and was much liked by everyone. All of the 17th Reserve Squadron join with my very sincere sympathy in your great loss."
   An observer in his squadron in France paid this tribute - "I have not been up myself with your son, but all the observers in his flight said the same thing: 'Owen is a jolly good pilot' and I am sure he was by the way he handled his machine. He was very much liked in the mess, and we are all very sorry to have lost him, as he was one of the right sort. His observer was killed instantly, and your son died on reaching the field ambulance after, I think, remaining conscious long enough to land his machine, as during the fight he must have drifted some distance away, but coming down just within our lines."
   Sir John McClure wrote - "It is not easy to express one's sympathy, however sincere, when one realises how powerless words are in the presence of such grief as yours. I shall always think of your dear boy as I last saw him when he came over to the school from the aerodrome at Croydon on the last Sunday of the Winter term (1916). We held evening service in the big school, and afterwards the Communion Service, and had the largest gathering I have ever known in the history of the school. Your son was at both services, and I had a few words with him at the close of the latter one. I shall not readily forget the impression his words and his whole attitude left upon me. I am not surprised to know he died cheerfully for his country like the hero that he was, for I saw then that he had consecrated his life and 'was no longer his own." His was one of five names read out yesterday in chapel who had died for 'King and Country and for righteousness sake.' Need I say how earnest were our prayers that God would grant His richest consolation to their relations and friends?"
   Mr. Craddock Watson, headmaster of Merchant Taylors' School, Crosby, wrote:- "Will you accept my sincere sympathy and that of the School in your sad loss. we hope some consolation will come to you with the knowledge that your son fell in a noble cause, and after doing gallant deeds of which we have read with pride."
   Mr. and Mrs. Milton, his housemaster and his wife, with whom he was boarder for six years wrote: - "I cannot tell you how grieved we are to find the news of Iorwerth is too true. Dear brave lad, he has left with us a memory of a fine Englishman, full of mischief, but a gentleman at all times. It is a bitter loss to all who knew him, and the School received the news this morning with great sorrow."
   Mrs. Milton continued:- "We both loved and admired Iorwerth, and had such pleasure in seeing his development into a fine and fearless soldier, and now he has finished all in the same dauntless way. He was always a gentleman, and in all his pranks he never forgot the fact. I shall always feel it has been a privilege to have had the dear boy in our care. I wish I could do more than tell you how all his friends here are mourning his loss with you. In time we hope his spirit of fearlessness will help you to feel that pride in the memory of all he has offered and given so nobly when duty called."
   The Rev. Dr. Alexander- "Your noble and gallant son has made a brave and glorious end to his brief earthly career. It is hard indeed to be bereft of such a lovely and beloved lad, his face proclaimed him to be one of the noble men who are God's special gift."
   The Rev. T.C. Williams, Menai Bridge - "As for your son, 'It is well with the child." He was sent into the world to do a certain thing. He did it, he did it well, and he died. He could not have had a more glorious death had he waited eighty years for it. The pluck and self-sacrifice of such young boys as he baffle one - Are they not the true followers of Christ?
"One glorious hour of crowded life
Is worth an age without a name."
   Mrs. Smithwick wrote- "I feel I must tell you how deeply Canon Smithwick and I are feeling for you both in the loss of your dear son. He looked as if he was born to be an airman; I did so admire him. You are justly proud of him, he has died a splendid death, giving himself for his country, and we must be for ever grateful to him and to those others who are preserving our freedom and security here."
   One of his intimate friends, who had exceptional opportunities of knowing him described him in these words- "Iorwerth was a fine fellow, and in the truest sense of the word, a sportsman. He would never allow anything to interfere with his military work for he had a keen sense of duty. He was immensely liked by all here, and if it was known he was coming, other engagements were put off we used so to enjoy his company. His humour, love of music, his bright and boyish ways and merry heart always did us good. Speaking to one of our party, who thought highly of him, he said:- "I shall always think of him as a boy, and remember him so, but such a grand boy." Yes, we shall miss him always, but I cannot think of him as gone, his memory is impressed upon me too clearly for that; he never will be dead to me; he, I feel sure, now lived in a happier sphere."
   The Rev. S.M. Jenkins, B.A., C.F., his minister and friend, writes of him in his Magazine an appreciation as follows:- "He was a most lovable boy, reserved with strangers, but much loved by all those to whom he gave his friendship. Full of fun and vivacity, fearless and frank, he was ever bubbling over with 'la joie de la vivre.' His humour was a great gift God had bestowed on him. He was also a keen musician, but the music he loved was the world's best. What a dear devoted son and brother he was. I can think of no one more so. He has not a trace of 'side,' yet he always carried himself with the dignity and grace that belong to the true gentleman. Although fully aware of the perils he had to face in his branch of the service, he was burning to do his duty to King and Country, and getting to France as soon as possible. I shall ever cherish his memory as one of my choicest possessions. Good bye dear boy" We shall often think of that little grave in France where your body lies - that will be to us 'for ever England.' But we shall think of you as one of those to whom has been fulfilled the promise 'Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.'"
"Death cannot rob them of the soldier's prize,
Self-sacrifice. He is too weak to take
The joy of having given from the eyes
the light of consecration from the brow.
They have laid down their lives for England's sake;
They are the living soul of England now."