Owen Thomas Peckham

Date of Birth           1869Poppies
Place of birth          Stockport, Cheshire
Service Number    1444 / 276444
Rank                           Gunner
Service                      Royal Garrison Artillery
Battalion                   32nd Company
Died                            29th April 1918
Death Location      Isle of Wight

Life Before The War
Owen was born in 1869 to Henry and Charlotte, nee Cutler.  Henry and Charlotte were both born in Southampton in 1843.

In 1871 they are recorded as living at 105 New Street, Great Barstead, Billericay, Essex.  Henry’s brother Thomas (b.1856) is also living with them.  In this year Henry is recorded as serving in the Royal Engineers as a Corporal.

Owen had 5 sisters and 4 brothers:

 

Charles  b.1865 in Ireland

Louisa E  b.1867

Thomas  b.1870 in Hazel Grove, Cheshire

Annie Sophia  b.1871 in Hyde, Cheshire and d.1872

Nellie Eliza  b.1872

Edwin James  b.1874 and d.1909

Frederick G  b.1876 and d.1925

Charlotte Miriam  b.1879.  Recorded on the 1881 census as Miriam C

Victoria  b.1882

In the 1881 census Owen was living at 149 Corngreaves Road, Rowley Regis, Staffordshire.  His father was serving as a Sergeant.

In 1891 they were living at 21 Amoy Street, Southampton.  Owen’s father had left the army and was working as a Printers Examiner, his brother Frederick was a Grocers Assistant.  Owen’s mother Charlotte died in 1892 in Southampton.

The census of 1901 shows the family still living at 21 Amoy Street with Owen’s father now a Superintendant Letter Press Printer, Owen was a Clerk on the railway, his brother Edwin was a Marine Electrician, Frederick was a Grocer’s Assistant and Victoria was a Fruiterer’s Assistant.

Royal Garrison Cap Badge

In 1911 Owen was living at 67 Melbourne Street,  St Marys, Southampton.  He was working as Dock Labourer.

Military Service
Owen enlisted at Southampton in the Royal Regiment Artillery – Royal Garrison Artillery – Special Reserve on 2nd September 1914.  It is stated on the enlistment papers that he had previously served in the Royal Garrison Artillery and been discharged – invalided out of the service.
Owen joined the theatre of war in Western France on 12th May 1915.

Owen returned to Parkhurst Military Hospital, Isle of Wight, where he died on 29th April 1918.  His parents names are given as Henry and Charlotte Miriam Peckham.  He is buried in the Parkhurst Military Cemetery, grave reference XI. B. 109.

Parkhurst Military Cemetery

This cemetery is War Department property, attached to the Albany Barracks.

It contains war graves of both world wars and after the war a Cross of Sacrifice was erected.
There are 59 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war here. There are a further 26 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-1945 war, including 1 unidentified British soldier and 2 unidentified seamen of the Merchant Navy.

Military Awards
Owen was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 15 Star – together known as
“Pip, Squeak and Wilfred”.

 

The Western Front
From  2nd August 1914 to  11th November 1918 the fighting on the Western Front in France and Flanders never stopped.  There were quiet periods, just as there were the most intense, savage, huge-scale battles.  The British army played the central role. Weakened by casualties and government action that made the army a low priority for national manpower, with an ever-lengthening line to hold, the British Expeditionary Force fought a magnificent defence in spring 1918. Breakthrough came August 1918 and in the last 100 days of the war the British Expeditionary Force spearheaded the defeat of the main body of the main enemy.

The war on the Western Front can be thought of as being in three parts;  first, a war of movement as Germany attacked France and the Allies sought to stop it; second, the lengthy and terribly costly siege warfare as the entrenched lines proved impossible to crack (late 1914 to mid 1918); and finally a return to mobile warfare as the Allies applied lessons and technologies forged in the previous years.  From 1914 the army possessed very little heavy artillery, it grew into a very large component of the British forces.  It was armed with heavy, large calibre guns and howitzers that were positioned some way behind the front line and had immense destructive power. The Royal Garrison Artillery were equipped with much larger weapons than the Royal Field Artillery.  Howitzers from 6″ and 9″ bore were common as were 60 Pounder heavy field guns.  These weapons became the first to be hauled by motor tractors rather than horse power.  Some of the guns were so large that they could only be deployed on railway tracks.

Researched by B/W 1/14

Copyright request applied 2013 to the MOD for the use of cap badges.

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