People on board
Hugh Owen was born in Holyhead in 1887 to Owen Owen (sometimes Owens) and Ellen Prichard. Hugh was the youngest of five children. Owen Owen gave his occupation in the 1891 and 1901 censuses as ‘Sailor Seas’. Hugh was listed in the 1911 Irish census aboard the CDSPCo ship RMS Connaught with Captain Birch in Kingstown harbour. Later that year he married Mary Anne Haynes in Holyhead. They had seven or eight children from 1913 to the youngest, Leslie, in 1931.
On the 10th October 1918 on the RMS Leinster Seaman Hugh Owen’s job was lookout as soon as the ship put to sea. The first torpedo missed the ship but Owen spotted the second one and alerted Captain Birch who attempted to change course. After the torpedo struck Hugh Owen helped get a lifeboat launched, getting on board himself along with about another one hundred people. As the lifeboat was pushed away from the side of the ship the third torpedo struck, the lifeboat was overturned and only six people survived. Owen himself was in the sea where he helped support a young girl until eventually they were picked up.
In later years Owen worked on shore; in 1939 he was employed as a ‘Quayman’ for the LMS, the London, Midland and Scottish railway company that for a time ran the mailboats to Dun Laoghaire. He died in Holyhead in 1979 aged ninety two.