SECOND LIEUTENANT WILFRED SPENCER BOWLES
MACHINE GUN CORPS
10TH JULY 1916 AGE 21
BURIED: DANZIG ALLEY BRITISH CEMETERY, MAMETZ, FRANCE
Wilfred Bowles was killed in action on 10 July 1916 in the Welsh Division's attack on Mametz Wood. He was shot by a sniper. A theology student at King's College London, Bowles gave up his studies in June 1915 to join the Inns of Court OTC. Five months later he was commissioned into the 5th Battalion, Essex Regiment and three months after this he transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. He went to France on 4 June 1916 and was killed five weeks later.
William Spencer Bowles was the son of Tom and Alice Bowles of Les Rochettes, Pontac, St Clements, Jersey. His father was a house painter and his mother a school mistress who by 1911 was the head teacher of a church school on the island. This makes her one of the very few mothers in this project to have an independent career, least of all one with three children and a living husband.
Bowles' father signed for his inscription. It comes from the first verse of Sir John Arkwright's famous hymn, 'O Valiant Hearts', once a stalwart of Remembrance Day services before its sentiments went out of fashion:
O valiant hearts who to your glory came
Through dust of conflict and through battle flame;
Proudly you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
Your memory hallowed in the land you loved.