War hero finally recognised
3:50pm Saturday 5th January 2013 in News
A First World War soldier, who was just 22 years old when he died from tuberculosis four months after the war ended, is to be commemorated 90 years on.
Pembroke-born Charles Gordon Bowen survived the carnage of the Gallipoli peninsular and lived to see the Armistice in November 1918, only to die from tuberculosis on March 10th, 1919, at his home in Clynderwen.
Like many other soldiers, he contracted the disease while serving in the British Army, but because they died from illness, not in combat, dozens of Pembrokeshire men were not formally recognised as a war casualty by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).
But research by Steve John, from the Pembroke County War Memorial Project, has helped persuade the GWGC to formally commemorate their death in the National Roll of Honour and Charles’ name will be added to the CWGC Brookwood (1914–1918) Memorial.
Charles was one of nine children of George and Fanny Bowen of Harcourt Terrace in Pembroke, and his father worked as a fitter in HM Dockyard at Pembroke Dock.
In 1913, aged 17, he joined the local Territorial Force enlisting in 1/4th Battalion Welsh Regiment. When the First World War started in 1914 his battalion was mobilised and initially placed on defensive duties in Scotland.
Charles was taken ill at a training camp at Scoveston Fort. He was diagnosed as suffering from tuberculosis and eventually discharged from the Army on November 5th 1917.
During his research, Steve discovered Charles married Mathilda Jane (Jenny) Williams in Pembroke in 1916 and they set-up home together at 2 Clifton Villa, Clynderwen.
Steve said: “The couple had a daughter, Edith May, but it has so far not been possible to find out whether she went on to have her own family.
“It would round things off nicely to discover any of Charles’ family who might be able to provide the Pembroke County War Memorial Project with a photograph of him.”
Steve can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.