Douglas Frank Owen

Lance Corporal - Royal Engineers - 579 Army Field Company - Service No. 2075951

Background Information


15th March 1916



Lance Corporal - Royal Engineers - 579 Army Field Company - Service No. 2075951



17th June 1940 age 24

Douglas Frank Owen was born on 15th March 1916 in Gravesend, Kent. His father was Arthur Newton Owen, a Trinity House Pilot, and his mother was Florence Kate (née Batchelor). He first attended Kildare School in Gravesend.
In 1925 Douglas Owen joined The County School for Boys – now known as Gravesend Grammar School. The Head Master at that time was the Reverend Samuel Lister. The County School for Boys was located in Darnley Road, Gravesend close to the Railway Station (now the Victoria Centre for Education). In 1938 the School moved to brand new premises in Church Walk, Milton, Gravesend opposite to Milton Church.
The School’s Admission Register lists Douglas’ address as 52 Pelham Road, Gravesend. He was an active member of the Gravesend Rowing Club and played Rugby for the Old Gravesendians.
In 1934 Douglas left the School and went on to business training, he then worked at the Westminster Bank in Erith, then Sidcup. Before the outbreak of World War Two, Douglas had enlisted in The Kent Fortress Royal Engineers. By 1940 he was a Lance Corporal in the 579 Army Field Company, Service Number 2075951.
On 17th June 1940, Douglas Owen was being evacuated from France on the troopship, Lancastria. The ship sank in the estuary of the River Loire. Many servicemen were trapped inside the hull, and a great many bodies were never recovered. Bodies were found months later along the French coast; north and south of Saint-Nazaire, and some more than one hundred miles away. The Lancastria was sunk while taking part in Operation Ariel, the evacuation of troops which took place two weeks after the evacuation of Dunkirk. Douglas Owen was 24 years old. He is remembered at the Dunkirk Memorial, France.

Douglas Owen was in the same Form as Terence Tynan, who was also Killed in Action in World War Two.

There are links below to Newspaper Clippings and Photographs from the Gravesend Grammar School Archives.
Below are links to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and a few other websites that might be of interest:

Dunkirk Memorial, France