BOWYER, Thomas

No.3/8426, Private, Thomas BOWYER
Aged 20

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 13th November 1916

An Old Contemptible

Thomas Bowyer was born in Kedington on 14th November 1895 (Risbridge Q4-1895 4A:701), baptised in St Peter and St Paul, Kedington on 12th January 1896, son of Elijah and Elizabeth BOWYER (née GARWOOD).

His mother died in 1897 and his father married widow Hermon Jane ARGENT (née BALDRY) in 1898

1901 census...Aged 5, he was at Union Road, Kedington with his father Elijah BOWYER [51] bricklayer; stepmother Jane [50][ born Naughton, Suffolk; sisters Emily [15] and Emma [10]; brothers George [18] and Harry [7], All except his stepmother were born in Kedington.

His father died in 1909. His sole legatee was his sister Emily M MAYES.

1911 census...Aged 15, single, a farm labourer, he was at School Road, Kedington with his widowed step-mother Hermon Jane; brothers George (stone pit labourer) and Harry (stone pit labourer).

His mother was at Rectory Road, Kedington on the pension card.

His brother George was killed serving in France in the Royal Fusiliers in 1916 see here

His brother Harry was killed in action serving in France in the Suffolk Regiment in 1917 see here

He enlisted in Haverhill, the only one of the three brothers to be a Regular soldier. The warrant below shows him on his way to Bury St Edmunds to enlist on 8th January 1913
The 2nd Battalion of the Suffolk were in the Curragh and Dublin, Ireland when war broke out. Mobilization took place at a rapid pace and they were ready for embarking by the 10th. The 1st half left on SS Lanfranc on 13th, the rest following on SS Poland the following day. They assembled in Le Havre at 3 am on 17th August and entrained for Le Cateau. Thomas missed all of this and arrived in France on 15th September, probably part of a draft of reinforcements sent to the battalion on the River Aisne.

The 2nd Suffolk moved into the area behind Serre in the middle of October 1916. The weather prevented any large scale operations for some time, but eventually they were ordered into their assembly positions, across open the open such was the state of the trenches. At 05:00 on the 13th November they floundered forward into No Man's Land, a sea of mud, movement being almost impossible. The mist, added to the smoke from the barrage, made direction very difficult to maintain and within a short time all the officers in the leading companies had fallen, and little progress had been made. In spite of the conditions, some leading Suffolk companies did reach the German second line, but in vain as they were forced to return to their original front line, waiting there the rest of the day before marching back to Courcelles the next morning.

CWGC records 82 killed, of which 37 have no known grave.

Thomas Bowyer is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 1C/2A

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

BACK to Kedington home page