Military General Service Medal with clasps 'Guadaloupe', 'Martinique'
Owen was born in around 1793 in Anamullen in County Monaghan, Ireland. We don't know anything about his early life or family.
On the 22nd May 1805, when he was 18 years old, Owen left his job as a labourer and joined the 63rd Regiment of Foot for 'unlimited service'. He enlisted in Belturbet, County Cavan.
The 63rd Regiment was sent to the Caribbean in 1808, and that December it set sail for the French island of Martinique. The Regiment landed and on the 8th February 1809 the French surrendered the island. The 63rd became the island's garrison for the next 6 years. Owen was a member of Captain Chapman's Company during this campaign.
Owen was one of around 300 members of the Regiment who took part in the capture of the French island of Guadeloupe between the 28th January and the 6th February 1810.
After this small groups of soldiers from the Regiment served aboard ships of the Royal Navy during battles with French ships, and others were stationed on smaller islands. We don't know what Owen did during this time. The war with France ended in 1815.
In around 1815, on Guadeloupe, Owen was involved in firing a salute to a senior officer. One of the guns being used burst, and Owen lost his right eye.
Owen stayed in the Caribbean with the 63rd Regiment until July 1819. They based detachments on a number of different islands after they left Martinique, including St Vincent, Grenada, Antigua and Guadeloupe.
Once he was back in the UK Owen could be discharged because of his accident. His conduct had been 'very irregular'. He left the Army at Winchester in Hampshire on the 20th September 1819. Owen could not write, so instead of signing his name on his discharge papers, he made 'his mark (an 'x').
The rest of Owen's life remains a mystery. The Military General Service Medal began to be issued in 1847. It was only awarded to former soldiers who applied for it themselves.
His medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in around 1950.