Robert Haylock OWEN CMG, MiD

OWEN, Robert Haylock

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 31 August 1914
Last Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
Last Unit: 3rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Wollongong, New South Wales, 7 January 1862
Home Town: Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales
Schooling: Sydney Grammar School
Occupation: Military Officer (retired)
Died: Devon, England, 5 April 1927, aged 65 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials:
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World War 1 Service

31 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Officer, 3rd Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant Colonel, SN Officer, 3rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Sydney

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Biography

"Robert Haylock Owen (1862-1927), army officer, and Percy Thomas Owen (1864-1936), military and civil engineer, were born on 7 January 1862 and 16 September 1864 at Wollongong, New South Wales, sons of Percy Owen, solicitor, and his wife Eleanor Martha, née Haylock, and grandsons of Robert Owen. They were educated at Sydney Grammar School.

In 1881 Robert joined the New South Wales Volunteer Artillery as a lieutenant and in 1885, as a member of the New South Wales contingent, took part in the campaign in the Sudan. On 28 April 1886, in England, he was commissioned in the Prince of Wales Volunteers, joining the 2nd Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, then stationed in Natal. He also served in the Straits Settlements and Gibraltar and was promoted captain in 1894. On 7 February 1890, in London, he had married Hilda Grace Rowell.

In 1900 Robert Owen became chief staff officer of the New Zealand Local Forces. He recruited, equipped and dispatched New Zealand contingents to the South African War. Promoted major in October 1902, he retired from the British Regular Army at the end of that year, but continued to serve in the New Zealand Militia as lieutenant-colonel.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 Owen was living in retirement near Wollongong. He was chosen by Colonel H. N. MacLaurin, commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, to command the 3rd Battalion. Owen, aged 52, considered he was too old—but he accepted. His men referred to him as 'Dad Owen'. He led the battalion throughout its training in Australia and Egypt, at the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, and during the fighting that followed; he briefly commanded the brigade in May. Wounded on 22 June, he was invalided home and discharged from the A.I.F. in May 1916. He had been appointed C.M.G. and mentioned in dispatches. Charles Bean characterized him as 'a father to his men, a commander with the most gentle consideration'—also, 'gallant but anxious'. In fact, Owen was noted for calling down supporting artillery fire more often than was usual, though there is evidence that, on 15 May 1915, naval gunfire which he called for and directed, saved a difficult situation. There is no doubt that even by 1915 standards he was too old to be a battalion commander..." -  READ MORE LINK (adb.anu.edu.au)

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