William was born in 1882, the second eldest son of John and Elizabeth Lewis. Whilst he was born in Llanidloes, like his three brothers, the family had moved to Brecon by about 1891 and were living at 21, Newmarch Street. William now 8 years old attended Pendre School in Brecon. By 1901 the family had moved to 1, Kensington Place and William's four younger sisters had all been born in the town.
John, William's father worked as a railway guard whilst in Llanidloes and subsequently in Brecon. By 1911 John has died and William's mother, now a widow, lived at 5, Brewery Court, Brecon with her youngest daughter Florence Emily, 13.
William was working as a house painter in Brecon in 1901 and married Annie Hargest, a dressmaker from Crickhowell, in 1905. They had two children Owen Thomas, born in 1906 and Mary Helena, born in 1908. The young family were living at Fair View, Old Road, Bwlch by 1911 when William is listed as an estate painter.
William enlisted in Brecon joining first the Royal Engineers (177823) before transferring to the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.
He fought on the Western Front in 1917 and the local paper reported on his 14 days’ leave in April 1918 after 12 months in France, and how fit he was looking. William was mentioned by Sir Douglas Haig for good work done in Picardy and Flanders.
In September 1918 he was reported to be a prisoner of war in Germany, and subsequently died there of heart failure.
Private William Owen Lewis
The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 9th Btn., service no.
Died on October 14th, 1918 in Germany, aged 37
Buried at the Niederzwehren Cemetery, Hessen, Germany