Lance-Sergeant Archibald Owen
Unit : 1st Battalion The Border Regiment, attached to Defence Platoon, 1st Airlanding Brigade
Army No. : 3852653
Archibald Owen, a Liverpudlian, and educated at the Upper Park Street Board School, had served in the Indian Army before the War. He had been working as a tram conductor in Coventry when the War began, but they returned to Liverpool when the family home was destroyed during the first big air raid on the city. Here, again, their house was similarly lost to bombing, necessitating a further move to Seacombe. Owen, as a reservist, was recalled to the Colours.
At Arnhem, Lance-Sergeant Owen was nominally a member of the 1st Border, but he was attached to the 1st Airlanding Brigade Headquarters as a member of their Defence Platoon. He was killed on Sunday 24th September 1944. The following is a letter sent by Major Bryor Blake, Brigade Major of the 1st Airlanding Brigade, to Archibald Owen's widow, explaining the circumstances of his death.
I am writing as your husband's Commanding Officer to offer you my deepest sympathy and to tell you of the circumstances under which he was hit. It occurred just before the evacuation when the Headquarters was being attacked by three tanks which penetrated to within 100 yards of the escape route. Your husband gallantly seized a Piat and with two other men went out to stop them. He succeeded in turning them aside but in the ensuing action himself got badly hit. I have closely questioned some men who were in the vicinity and am unable to offer you any hope that he is still alive. Darkness fell almost immediately and the evacuation took place then, so I was unable to satisfy myself personally on this matter. You will however be informed through official sources of the true state of affairs as soon as they can find anything out.
Please write to me and let me know if there is anything I can do for you. Your husband will be missed here as no where else for his cheerfulness, gallantry and example. It was only thanks to men such as him that so many got away.
Yours very sincerely,
sgd. A. BRYOR BLAKE
My thanks to Marie Owen and Ian O'Rourke for this information.
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