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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Albert Henry Bowler

Died 29th September 1918, aged 33
Second Battle of the Somme, St Quentin, France


Private Albert Bowler from the Leicestershire Regiment was one of the last Quorn soldiers to lose his life. He was born on Bond Lane in Mountsorrel, the son of Jacob and Priscilla Bowler, and one of thirteen children, although only ten survived to adulthood. In 1908 he married Elizabeth Chapman from Quorn and they made their home in Quorn at 2 Church Lane. This was the house where Elizabeth had been brought up, and where her parents still lived. The young couple had four children and Albert supported his family with his job at Mountsorrel Quarry.

Although he came from Mountsorrel, Albert settled into Quorn life, and as a keen footballer, he became the trainer for Quorn Havelock Football Club, following on from Jack Cawrey, who would also be killed later in WW1. A photograph of the team, with Albert on the back row (second from the left), can be seen at Artefact 541.

By autumn 1918, many men had already been lost, and villagers had grown to dread more possible bad news. Albert, a first class Lewis gunner, died on the Somme on 29th September 1918. He was buried at Busigny Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord in France. The Loughborough Herald on the 17th October 1918 reported Albert’s death:
“Mrs Bowler, of Church Lane has been informed that her husband, Pte. A. H Bowler, has been killed in action. The Second-Lieut. of the company to which Pte. Bowler belonged, speaks in high terms of the soldierly qualities of the deceased, and expresses his sympathy with the widow. The circumstances surrounding this casualty are sad indeed as recently Mrs Bowler lost three children in a short time.”

Tragedy on top of tragedy
Albert had only returned to the Western Front three weeks prior to his death, having been home on short leave. The leave was on compassionate grounds, as three of their children had died from chest related complaints in the Spanish flu epidemic that was gripping Quorn. Elsie (aged 2), Reginald (aged 7) and Winnie (aged 3), had died within 11 days of each other between the 24th July and 3rd August 1918.

Elizabeth brought up their remaining daughter Nellie alone, and lived in the same house on Church Lane until her old age. She never remarried and died in 1963 aged 78.

Albert’s parents, Jacob and Priscilla, were still living in Mountsorrel when Albert died. They had already lost one son, 22 year old Reuben, who died of wounds in September 1915. Like many families they probably felt that the end of the war, and the end of worrying was in sight; but Albert’s death followed that of another of his brothers, Percy (Robert Percy), only five days earlier. Having lost three sons and three grandchildren – five of them in less than three months - the extent of their grief is hard to comprehend.

Below:
1) A modern photograph of Albert’s home on Church Lane. Number 2 is on the left.
2) Inset is the best image of Albert that has been found.


 view larger image
   
 missing information Missing information: Can anyone provide a better photograph of Albert Bowler?
Please email us at: team2020@quornmuseum.com
 Submitted on: 2020-01-13
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman
 Artefact ID: 2332
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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