Private Alfred Allen Bowdery

Date of Birth 1894
Age at Death 20
Date of Death 8 October 1915
Service Number 11115
Military Service 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers
Merton Address Mitcham
Local Memorial Mitcham War Memorial

Additional Information

Alfred Allen Bowdery was born in Mitcham in 1894, but it is not clear who his parents were. The Bowdery’s are a large family group and have been living in the Mitcham area for generations.

On the 1901 census, Alfred, aged six years, is recorded as being a ‘visitor’ at the house of Ellen Herrington and her husband Henry. Ellen was the daughter of a John and Mary Ann Bowdery. Ellen and Henry had five children including a daughter Alice. Alice went on to marry and her married name was Dalton. The Register of Soldiers Effects shows that Alfred’s last pay was claimed by Alice Dalton, who was recorded as being his half sister. This is not likely, so it could be that Alfred was just a close relative.

In 1911 the Census records him living in Aberdare, Wales. He was a boarder at the home of Albert Pope who was a coal miner/hewer. Alfred was aged 16 and was employed as an Assistant Coal Miner.

Soon after Alfred returned to Mitcham, and enlisted in the regular army as a Private with the 4th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment. He attested at Kingston on 28 September 1911 aged 17 years and 10 months. He was described as being 5ft 4ins in height, weight 118lbs, eyes Brown, with light brown hair. His occupation was given as a Casual Farm Labourer.

Before the outbreak of WW1, on the 5th February 1914, he transferred to the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers - perhaps this was due to the connection he had with Wales.

In August 1914, his battalion mobilised for war, and landed at Le Havre. They were engaged in various actions on the Western Front including The Battles of Mons, Marne Aisne and the First Battle of Ypres in 1914.

In 1915, the battalion fought in the Battle of Loos on (25 September - 8 October). The Battalion’s War Diary states that on 8th October 1915, there was a bombardment, and an infantry attack by the German army which failed. Later there was slight shelling, but very few casualties.

Nevertheless, Alfred lost his life on that day. He has no known grave, and is remembered on the Loos Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on the Mitcham War Memorial.


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