The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Brinley Owen

This is the memorial page for Brinley Owen of Cwmtwrch, Ystradgynlais, who died during the Second World War. He had been serving with the army until one month prior to his death, and had been officially discharged the day before he died. It would seem that this is responsible for his not being on the Ystradgynlais War Memorial.

NameBrinley Owen
Date of Death22nd November 1941
Place of DeathPLACE
Age at Death31
Unit and Regiment Welch Regiment; 18th Bn.
Service Number3972787
CemeteryBethania Calvinistic Methodist Chapel yard, Lower Cwmtwrch; Row 05 Grave 7
Local Memorials DATA
Personal InformationBorn Lower Cwmtwrch 1910. Son of William David Owen (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1871-1932) Colliery Check Weigher and Elizabeth Owen née Bowen (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1871-1916) of Min yr Awl, Bryneithyn Road, Lower Cwmtwrch. Prior to war service he was the owner of a Monumental Mason Business at Ystalyfera
BrothersDavid OWEN* (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1895-05/12/1918) Coal Miner
Evan Thomas OWEN (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1898) Cooperative Stores Assistant
John OWEN (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1901)
Gethin OWEN (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1906)
Robert OWEN (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1909)
SistersJennet Ann OWEN (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1896)
Catherine OWEN (Born Lower Cwmtwrch 1905)

From the South Wales Voice newspaper of Saturday 29th November 1941 came the news of the death of Brinley Owen:-


We regret to report the death which occurred last Friday with tragic suddenness of Mr Brinley Owen, Min yr Awel, Lower Cwmtwrch. Mr Owen who was 31 years of age served in the Army until about a month ago when he came home. He was discharged on medical grounds, on Friday, the day before his death.
Before joining the Forces he was Captain of the Ystalyfera Company of the Church Lad's Brigade and a very active worker for St David's Church. On the death of his former employer, Mr A J Cross, he purchased the business of Monumental Mason, which he conducted.
Sympathy is extended to his brothers and sisters in their sad loss. There was a large gathering at the funeral on Tuesday, burial being in Bethania Chapel Graveyard Cwmtwrch. A fully choral service was held at St David's Church when the vicar Rev J G Hughes BA officiated.
Chief mourners were: Misses Katie and Jennet A Owen sisters; Lance Corporal Robert Owen and Mr Arthur Owen brothers, Mr and Mrs Gethin Owen, Mr and Mrs Evan T Owen brothers and sisters in law; Mrs Catherine O'Connor and Mrs Ann Griffiths, aunts; Mr Michael J O'Connor and Mr and Mrs H Jeffreys cousins.
A guard of honour was provided by a Ystalyfera Church Lad's Brigade Company.

Brinley Owen was buried with Family Members:-
Mother Elizabeth OWEN nee BOWEN died 4th April 1916 aged 45 years [Sister of Mrs Catherine O'CONNOR]
Brother David OWEN died 5th December 1918 aged 24 years
Father William D OWEN died 17th January 1932 aged 61years

The family grave in Bethania Churchyard

From the Labour Voice newspaper of 14th December 1918 we learn of the death of Brinley's brother David from influenza in 1918:-

A promising young man in the person of Mr David Owen, eldest son of Mr William D Owen check weigher Cwmphil Lower Cwmtwrch, passed away on Thursday evening last at the age of 21. Deceased was ill but a few days and died from the effects of influenza. He was a pianist of considerable ability and was also a member of the Ystalyfera Town Band. The members of the Band headed the funeral procession on Monday, when they played the hymn tune "Lausanne" and the Dead March in "Saul".
The interment which took place at the Bethania when Mr James Powell presided was attended by a large number of relatives and sympathisers.

From the Labour Voice newspaper of 8th April 1916 we learn of the death of the mother of Brinley Owen, Mrs Elizabeth Owen:-

We regret to record the death on Tuesday evening of Mrs Elizabeth Owen, the wife of Mr Wm D Owen check weigher of Bryneithin at the age of 45, leaving a family of nine children and a widower to mourn their sad loss. The deceased had been ailing for the last six months but a week ago suffered a seizure from which she did not recover. She had been a faithful member of the church at Bethel since early childhood and the deep sympathy of the neighbourhood goes out to the bereaved father and children, and also to the aged mother Mrs David Bowen, in their great loss.
The funeral takes place on Saturday at 430pm the burial being at Bethania graveyard.

From the Labour Voice newspaper of 15th April 1916 came the news of the burial of Brinley's mother:-

The burial of the late Mrs W D Owen Cwmphil took place on Saturday afternoon at Bethania Churchyard, when a large number of relatives and sympathisers with the bereaved family attended.

From the South Wales Voice newspaper of 23rd January 1932 came the news of the death of Brinley's father, William D Owen:-


It is regret that we record the death of Mr William D Owen, Min yr Awel, Lower Cwmtwrch, which occurred on Sunday evening. Deceased had been ailing since last February but seemed to be making fine progress towards recovery following a hard struggle against serious illness. He was out for a walk with one of his sons on Sunday afternoon during a sunny spell. Mr Owen sustained a seizure about 8 pm and passed away an hour later. His death means the loss of a very faithful and hard-working public servant, one who had devoted his whole life in service to the community. He was 61 years of age and there are left a wife, 6 sons and 2 daughters.

For 27 years deceased had held the position of checkweigher at the Tirbach Colliery Ystalyfera and was an authority on work men's compensation. He was chairman of the Anthracite Miners' District meeting in 1925 and for some time acted as miners agent pending the appointment of Mr Jim Griffiths, Ystradgynlais. The local Miners Welfare Movement received a great deal of his time as secretary: a post he had filled with credit from the inception of the scheme, of which he was called "the father". He was also a very active member of the Swansea and South Wales Institution for the Blind, in whose interest he worked very hard for many years. During the institution's financial crisis he interviewed the Ministry of Health on several occasions and succeeded in attaining his object with reference to the work men's wages. He also compiled in 1924 a report on the financial affairs of the institution which was a very important duty.

Mr Owen was the first organist of Bethel Chapel, a post he held for 25 years and he was also a deacon whilst he was secretary from its inception of the Cwmtwrch United Gymanfa Ganu. As chairman from the start of Ystradgynlais Child Welfare Committee, Mr Owen had been responsible in a large measure for the successful work done by the committee and its present flourishing state.

Mr Owen had also been a member of the Ystradgynlais Council Pontardawe Guardians and the Ystradgynlais Local Education Committee.

The same newspaper, the South Wales Voice of 23rd January 1932 has news of the funeral of Brinley's father, William D Owen:-

THE FUNERAL: there was a very large gathering at the funeral which took place on Thursday, amidst scenes of deep regret. Among the people present were a very large number of workmen employed at Tirbach Colliery.
The burial was at Bethania graveyard.
The chief mourners were: Mrs Owen widow, Messrs Evan Owen, Gethin Owen, Robert Owen, Brinley Owen, Arthur Owen sons; Miss Jennet A Owen and Miss Katie Owen daughters; Mr and Mrs John Owen son and daughter-in-law; Mrs Griffiths, sisters; W D Owen grandson; Mrs O'Connor, Mrs Bevan Cardiff sisters in law; Miss Ann Griffiths and Mrs Lloyd Dowlais; Mrs Robert J Williams, Mr W D Williams, Mr David E Williams MA, Mrs D P Williams, D Davies, Mr Cox Cardiff cousins.

The Voice newspaper, 6th January 1966 reported on the death of John Owen, one of the brothers of Brinley Owen:-


The death occurred at his house in Glasgow on 18th December of Mr John Owen aged 64, son of the late Mr and Mrs W D Owen Minyrawel Lower Cwmtwrch.
Mr Owen in his younger days was well known in the Swansea Valley as a violinist and for the last 30 years had been organist and choir master at a Presbyterian Church and for many years was conductor of the Glasgow Welsh Societyís Choir.
He was buried at the village church Upper Largo and leaves a widow, 3 children and 8 grandchildren.

Grandparents of Brinley OWEN: Grandfather David BOWEN died 1914 aged 76 years and Grandmother Catherine BOWEN died 1919 aged 75 years Buried Cwmllynfell Cemetery

THE CHURCH LADS BRIGADE St David's Church Ystalyfera 1891-1991
***St David's Church Ystalyfera: The Church Lads Brigade was formed in December 1925 and ran for the next 31 years. In 1935 under Captain Cross the boys spent the annual summer camp in Clevedon Devon and in the following year the commander was promoted to Staff Major of the Welsh Area Brigade and Lieutenant Brinley Owen to Captain.


The Fallen of World War Two

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