Owen Charles Hawes was born into a farming family in Brill, near Oakley, on the 17th February 1896, and was the eldest of four children. His father was Charles Hawes and mother Ellen (Nellie, nee Porten). He was educated at Lord Williams’s Grammar School in Thame where he became a member of both the football and cricket XI’s.
At the outbreak of WWI in August 1914, at the age of 18, Owen immediately enlisted with the 4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, and was posted to the 2/4th Battalion. The battalion, being a second line unit, was not called for overseas service until 1916, landing in France with the 184th Brigade, 61st Division on the 26th May.
In the German offensive at Saint Quentin in March 1918 the battalion was overrun, and lost over 630 men, more than 450 of them being taken prisoner, including a number of wounded. Owen Hawes was one of the wounded, and died in a German military hospital on the 16th May 1918, aged 21.
He was buried in a cemetery, 50 kilometres east of Cambrai and behind the then German front line. He left £501 in his will, probate being granted to his mother, but not until 1943, the same time as his father’s, who had died in 1914.
200438 Private Owen Charles Hawes, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, is buried in Avesnes-Sur-Helpe Communal Cemetery, Nord, France. He is remembered in Thame on Lord Williams’s School memorial board.
His name is commemorated on the war memorial at Oakley, Bucks alongside the names of four other servicemen from the village with the surname of Hawes, who also lost their lives during the war.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Avesnes-sur-Helpe Cemetery, Nord, France on 21st April 2018 by Brian West