The AIF Project

Herbert William BOWEN

Regimental number1149
Place of birthSydney New South Wales
SchoolNewcastle and Cask's Hill Public Schools, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Address'Boolaroo', First Street, Newcastle, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27
Next of kinMother, Mrs Margaret Alma Bowen, 'Boolaroo', First Street, Newcastle, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date10 March 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll8 March 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name19th Battalion, D Company
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT Ceramic on 25 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll19th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularPosthumously awarded the Military Medal.
FateKilled in Action 11 August 1918
Miscellaneous details (Nominal Roll)*Given name Herbert William
Place of death or woundingMorlancourt, France
Date of death11 August 1918
Age at death31.11
Age at death from cemetery records30
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
88
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John and Margaret BOWEN, First Street, Boolaroo, New South Wales
Medals

Military Medal

'During the operation on 11th August, 1918 against RAINECOURT, East of AMIENS, this N.C.O. displayed great courage and gallantry in rushing an enemy's sniper's position which was causing considerable trouble to the troops while digging in on the objective line. Accompanied by Sergeant HALL he rushed the enemy post in broad daylight but was severely wounded by a bullet from the post when only about 12 yards away. His comrade was enabled to clear the post, killing two of the enemy with a bomb and capturing the remaining three occupants of the post who were wounded.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 109
Date: 15 September 1919

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Medals: Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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