Master Reginald Owens

Reginald Owens, 8, was the son of Cecelia Owens, brother of Ronald Owens, nephew of Alfred and Elizabeth Smith and cousin of Helen and Hubert Smith.  Ronald, Reginald, and Helen had been playing on deck just before the torpedo struck the ship.  The brothers became separated from the family and were not found.  They were lost while Cecelia and Helen, the only members of their party, survived.

Background


Reginald's family came from Swansea, Wales.  He and his brother Ronald were the sons of Hubert Isaac Owens and Cecelia Mildred Smith.  The Owens family moved to the United States around 1909, about the time that Cecelia's brothers, Arthur and Alfred, did.  The Owens family and Alfred's family settled in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania.  There, Hubert found work at the local steel factory. By 1915, the Smiths had decided to return to Wales.  Cecelia, Reginald, and Ronald would be traveling with the Smiths and then return to the United States, as Hubert Owens had stayed in Ellwood City.

Disaster


The Smith family had a personal relationship with the Cunard Line, which may have played a role in the families' decision to sail aboard Lusitania on what was to be her fatal last crossing. After lunch on Friday, 7 May, Cecelia allowed Reginald and Ronald to play on deck with Helen until 2 p.m.  At 2 p.m., the boys dutifully reported back to their mother in their cabin, saying, "we are playing on deck and we are enjoying ourselves.  Helen is with us, and it is such fun!” The boys wanted to play for another half hour, and Cecelia allowed them to do so.  The boys ran out of the room to rejoin Helen, who was still on deck by herself, waiting for her cousins to return.  This would be the last time Cecelia would see her sons. The torpedo struck at 2:10 p.m, and Cecelia and Alfred Smith and Elizabeth Smith, with baby Hubert in arms, searched the sinking ship for their three missing children.  A stranger put a lifebelt on Cecelia and threw her into a lifeboat before she could find her sons. Reginald and Ronald were lost in the sinking. Their bodies were either never identified or not recovered.

Links of interest


Encyclopedia Titanica:  Lest We Forget – Part 1
Contributors: Jim Kalafus, USA Carol Keeler Peter Kelly, Ireland Mike Poirier, USA References: Hickey, Des and Gus Smith.  Seven Days to Disaster, pages 115, 178, 194, 227, 274.  G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1982. Hoehling, A.A. and Mary Hoehling.  The Last Voyage of the Lusitania. Madison Books, 1956. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget : Part 1. ET Research. <http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lusitania-lest-we-forget.html>. Kalafus, Jim and Michael Poirier (2005) Lest We Forget Part 2: As the Lusitania Went Down ET Research. <http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/lusitania-lest-we-forget-2.html>.

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