Arthur Owen Vaughan

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Flame-Bearers of Welsh History: Being the outline of the Sons of Cunedda by Arthur Owen Vaughan

Lt. Colonel Arthur Owen Vaughan DSO OBE DCM (6 September 1863 – 15 October 1919), also known by his bardic name Owen Rhoscomyl, was an English-born writer, soldier and Welsh nationalist. Born as Robert Scourfield Mills in England, Owen Rhoscomyl was influenced by his Welsh grandmother and became a notable patriot to Wales and its history.

Early life[edit]

Vaughan was born in Southport, Merseyside but moved to Lancashire where he was raised. As a child, Vaughan was highly influenced by his maternal grandmother, who was born in Tremeirchion in North Wales. At the age of 15 he ran away from home and went to sea,[1] travelling to America. There he became a cowboy and found work in mining camps before returning to Britain.

Military career[edit]

In 1887 he joined the 1st Royal Dragoons. He left the Royal Dragoons in 1890 but was soon back serving the British Army in the Boer War of 1899–1902. Vaughan served in several horse troops, mainly [2] in Rimington's Guides and after they disbanded in 1901, their successor unit Damant's Horse. While in this unit, Vaughan was cited for bravery under fire and earned a DCM. In October 1901 he joined Ross's Canadian Scouts, an anti-commando outfit previously led by A. L. Howard,[2] in which Vaughan reached the rank of captain.[3] When war broke out in August 1914, Vaughan was prominent in recruiting a new regiment in South Wales, the Welsh Horse Yeomanry, hoping - in vain, as it turned out - to be given command.

Literary career and later life[edit]

While in South Africa, Vaughan met and married Catherine Geere secretly in December 1901.[2]

On his return to Britain in 1902, Vaughan set out to promote Wales and in 1905 he completed his most famous work Flame-Bearers of Welsh History: Being the outline of the Sons of Cunedda, which looked at the contribution of the Welsh to the growth of the British Empire. In 1906 he wrote the novel Old Fireproof, followed by Vronina (1906) and Lone Tree Lode (1913).

In 1909 Vaughan scripted the National Pageant of Wales, held at Cardiff Castle. In 1911 he scripted the National Pageant at the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in Carnarvon Castle.[2]

He and Catherine had four children. Catherine died in 1927, while Vaughan died in 1919. Following Vaughan's death, a fund was raised to provide a memorial for his grave in honour of his Welsh patriotism in Rhyl, Flintshire. Two headstones mark his grave: the usual marble headstone for British soldiers under his own name, Lt Col A.O. Vaughan, and a Celtic cross honouring his achievements for the Welsh [2] under his bardic name Owen Roscomyl.[2]


  • The Jewel of Ynys Galon (1895)
  • Battlement and Tower (1896)
  • The White Rose of Arno (1897)
  • The Shrouded face (1898)
  • Y Rhosin Du (1899)
  • The Lady of Castell March (1902)
  • Old Hendrik's Tales (1904) co-authored with C.L.Vaughan
  • Flame-Bearers of Welsh History: Being the outline of the Sons of Cunedda (1905)
  • Sweet Rogues (1907)
  • Dewi Saint (1907)
  • Old Fireproof (1906)
  • Vronina (1907)
  • Isle Raven (1908)[4]
  • A Scout's Story (1908)
  • Ou Hendrik se Stories (1908) translated into Dutch
  • Lone Tree Lode (1913)
  • The Matter of Wales (1913)
  • Numerous short stories (1904-1909)


  1. ^ The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. John Davies, Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines and Peredur Lynch (2008) University of Wales Press p. 558 ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6
  2. ^ a b c d e f A. L. von Zeil, Battle Scars and Dragon Tracks 2010 ISBN 978-0-620-46322-5
  3. ^ Archive Network Wales
  4. ^ "Review: Isle Raven by Owen Vaughan". The Athenaeum (4196): 380. March 28, 1908. 

External links[edit]