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Arthur Allen Owen was born around 1842 at Bilston, Staffordshire, England the son of Joseph B. Owen a member of the clergy, and his wife Louisa. Educated at St. Paul’s School at London the younger Owen attended the Royal Military College at Sandhurst before purchasing an ensignship with the 88th Regiment of Foot in May 1859.

Lieutenant by Purchase – 13 November 1860
Instructor of Musketry – 5 July 1864
Resigns Instructor Appointment  - 1 May 1865
Captain by Purchase – 15 September 1869
Major – 9 June 1877
Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel – 28th November 1878
Retires on pension – 12 February 1881
Appointed Gentleman at Arms to the Queen – 3 March 1885
Awarded the Order of Mercy – 1 October 1901

Owen’s served with the 88th Foot under General Sir Arthur Cunynghame in South Africa during the Ninth Cape Frontier War (1877-78) and served as Acting Assistant Adjutant-General of the Transkei Field Force and commanded the Right Column in the Transkei. Owen wrote several dispatches that appeared in the London Gazette (February 1878).

The 1877-79 South Africa Medal Roll for the 88th Foot (compiled in Mooltan on 22 January 1881) shows Owen’s entitlement to that medal with the “1877-79” clasp and lists him as having been invalided home at the time of its compiling. He appears to have received a Mention in Despatches for his services on the Cape Frontier from Colonel Glynn of the 24th Regiment who commanded the Transkei Field Force which read: "This officer has afforded me every assistance since my arrival in the Transkei, and I take this opportunity of expressing to Your Excellency my approbation, of his services as Assistant Adjutant-General.".

In A History of the Mess Plate of the 88th Connaught Rangers by Captain H. F. N. Jourdain, Arthur Allen Owens service in South Africa is summed up:  "Colonel Owen served in the South African War, 1877-8-9, Kaffir Campaign, as A.A.G. to Colonial forces, and afterward as AA. G. to the Transkei Field Force; in command of the attacking column at the battle of Neumarka, and subsequent engagements in the Chichaba and Kei River Valley. Commanded a draft Battalion at Pinetown during the latter part of the Zulu Campaign. Despatches, London Gazette, 26th February 1878."

Arthur Allen Owen married Miss Janet Sophia Servis not long after his return from the Cape on 13 May 1879 at St Luke’s Parish Church in Chelsea, Middlesex. Owen and his wife had three children: Josephine Marion (b. 1880), Arthur Elibank Lewis (b. 1881), and Madeleine Harriet (b. 1883).  He passed away at his home of Polesdon Datchet, Buckinghamshire on 29 April 1917.

As shown in the above service outline Owen continued to receive royal patronage for the rest of his life. In this photograph dated 1911 Owen is shown wearing his medal group which included The Royal Victorian Order, the 1887 Jubilee Medal (with 1897 bar), the 1902 Coronation Medal, the 1911 Coronation Medal, the 1877-79 South Africa Medal (with “1877-79” clasp) and the League of Mercy Medal. Owen’s medal group sold at auction in 2003 for £2,056. Owen is wearing the uniform of the Gentlemen at Arms (the helmet of the corps rest on the table) and if the date of 1911 and the photograph are contemporary then one may assume that he still held this post under George V.

Mounted Photograph
9 Inches by 7 Inches
(23cm x 18cm)
Elliott & Fry, Ltd. - Photographer
55 Baker Street, W., London, England

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