Sergeant 305447 - Sherwood Foresters
Notts Derby "B" Coy. 1/8th Battalion
Enlisted: Mansfield September 1914
Killed in Action Flanders 5th Aug, 1917 : Aged 26
Philosophe British Cemetery Mazingarbe I. U. 17.
Sergeant 305447 Sam Bowler was born Q3 1891 in Huthwaite-under-Huthwaite, where both parents families had long been settled. Marriage Q1 1886 between Hosiery Factory Hands father James Bowler and Miss Eliza Gelsthorpe, initially shared Coupe's Yard workers lodgings off Market Street, when 1891 listed Mrs Bowler mothering 3 year old Beatrice and son John 2.
Samuel Bowler is identified in next 1901 Sherwood Street household headed by James 40, and wife Eliza 34, Beatrice 13, John 11, Samuel 9, Gershom 8, Margret A 5, Arthur H 5, and Thomas 1. Their move into 103 Main Street added younger named Sarah Martha and Tom, although 1901 census reveals illnesses had sadly claimed 5 of their 11 children. Eldest surviving sons were employed underground at New Hucknall Colliery, Samuel 19 a Loader and Gershom 18 a Gang Lad. The death of 20 year old Gershom in a 1913 pit accident prompted Samuel to leave the dangerous mining industry environment. Commuting by tram would be afforded gaining employment at the Hermitage factory in Mansfield, until volunteering enlistment into army service.
Private Samuel Bowler enlisted September 1914 joining the local Sherwood Foresters. Mobilisation from 25 February 1915 into France and Flanders battlefields must earn promoted ranks through Corporal and Lance Sergeant for a familiarly named Sam.
Sergeant 305447 Sam Bowler was killed in action by a head shot during one of the attacks on German trenches. This 26 year old was buried and is commemorated in the Philosophe British Cemetery, France. ICGW headstone was personalised by family Not gone from memory or from love. Samuel Bowler is also listed on Huthwaite, Sherwood Street, Methodist chapel War plaque.
"In the field, 7th August, 1917. I am very sorry to write to tell you of your sons death – killed in action – a splendid man, a very good N.C.O., and a real soldier. He was hit in the head, and it may comfort you to know that death was instantaneous. It was on a raid on the night of the 4th inst. In the name of the Company officers and men I offer you deepest sympathy.-R.W.Clarke, 2nd Lieut.,1/8th Platoon, b Company, 1/8th Sherwood Foresters."
In the foregoing manner was the news received of the death of Sergeant Sam Bowler, whose home was at 103, Main Street, Huthwaite. The official notification has not yet been received, but the news is confirmed by a Sutton soldier named Marsh, who was home on leave last week, and a Huthwaite man also sends word that he has seen Bowler’s grave, which is being very nicely kept. Sergeant Bowler was 26 years old, and enlisted in September, 1914, being at that time employed at Hermitage factory, Mansfield and before that he was a miner. He went out to France about two years ago, and gained his three stripes at the front. He had had two leaves, the latter being at Whitsuntide last. He was a splendid soldier, and was greatly liked and respected throughout the whole of his career. Previously to enlisting his hobby was music and he played the euphonium in a local orchestra. With his death, his parents have lost six sons out of seven, nearly all at promising ages, he being the only one left eligible for the army. Four have died of disease, and one was killed in the mine a few years ago. This fact caused Sergeant Bowler to give up pit work, and eventually led to his enlisting though if he had remained a miner there would of course have been no claim upon him.
A former employee of Messrs. Eden and Sons, the Hermitage, and a man well-known to many people in Mansfield, was killed in action on the night of the 4th. inst., when Sergeant Sam Bowler, of Main Street, Huthwaite, fell in France. The deceased joined the Army in September, 1914, and was with the County Regiment, the Sherwood Foresters, by whom he is greatly missed, as the appended letters show.
Second Lieut. R.W. Clarke wrote to the father as follows:- "On the Field, 7th. August, 1917, Dear Mr. Bowler,- Am very sorry to write to tell you of your son’s death, killed in action. A splendid man, a very good N.C.O., and a real soldier. He was hit in the head, and it may comfort you to know that death was instantaneous. It was on a raid on the night of the 4th. inst. In the name of the Company officers and men, I offer you deepest sympathy."
The following letter has also been received : Dear Friend, - It is with deepest sympathy and regret that I write to you to inform you of the death of Sergt. S. Bowler, who was killed in action on the night of the 4th. and 5th. As you know, Sam was one of my best pals. We were engaged in raiding the enemy’s trenches, and Sam was between the German front lines and the enemy’s barbed wire, and we were all preparing to rush the German front line when Sam got hit. He shouted out, and was bandaged up, but while being bandaged up he died. He was hit in the head, but I couldn’t say whether it was a bullet or shell. The officer has written to his father, and explained how it happened. All the boys in the platoon join with me in the loss of so great a friend, with the company officers, sergeant-major, quartermaster-sergeant, and the platoon sergeants. I expect you have heard that Charlie Meadows had been wounded the day before Sam. Well, I think that is all I can send you this time. If I get to know any more particulars, I will let you know.-I remain, yours sincerely, Sergt. W. Harrison."