BOWSER Richard 1894 – 1967

RICHARD BOWSER 1894 – 1967

Family Details

Richard Thompson Bowser was born 10 June 1894, the son of James William and Alice Bowser.[1]  There were 3 children:

  • Mary Lilian bc.1893 at Coundon
  • Richard Thompson born 1894 at West Auckland
  • Thomas John bc.1898 at West Auckland

In 1901, the family lived at Lockey’s Yard, West Auckland and 35-year old James worked as a coal miner [hewer].  In 1911, 16-year old Richard worked as “a screener”.  The family lived at 7 Lockey’s Yard.[2]

Military Details

Richard T. Bowser joined the 11th [Service] Battalion, the Royal Scots which was attached to the 27th Brigade, 9th [Scottish] Division.[3] The Division moved to France in May 1915.

270561 Private R.T. Bowser did not enter France until after 31 December 1915 since he was not awarded the 1914-1915 Star.  He was a later draft replacement.  He was awarded the Military Medal for actions on the 18 August 1918 during the Advance in Flanders in which the Division captured the Outtersteene Ridge [18 August – 6 September 1918]. [4]  He was also awarded the British War and Victory medal.[5]

A commemorative scroll was presented to him by the secretaries of the West Auckland Lodge of the DMA.  It contained the following text:

“Presented to Mr. Richard Thompson Bowser by the West Auckland Lodge of the Durham Miners’ Association 1919.

Fellow workmen, we the undersigned, on behalf of the members of the above Lodge desire to present to you our heartiest congratulations on having received the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery on the field of battle.

The honour conferred upon you is greatly appreciated by all your fellow workmen who feel prouder still to be associated with you after having performed such an act of distinguished bravery.

We recognize to the fullest extent the valour and manhood which you so nobly exhibited on the 18th day of August 1918 at Hoenacker Ridge, Meteren when your comrades, wounded and helpless, lay exposed to deadly fire of the enemy.

Regardless of danger, forgetting all thoughts of home and self, and actuated by a spirit of humanity and comradeship, you voluntarily went forth to rescue them and succeeded in bringing them safely out of the jaws of death.  We now offer you a most sincere welcome home and wish you a long career of usefulness free from further anxiety and discomfort.

In conclusion we trust that your great deed of gallantry may be perpetuated and that the memory of the same may be kept fresh to the end of our lives.

Yours fraternally

Geo. Snaith.  D.R. Thomas Secretaries”

The 11/Bn. The Royal Scots War Diary records the following:

“17th HOEGENACKER RIDGE.  All the Division in the front line.  SCOTS TRENCH X21. d.1.6 – X.22.G.2.0

18th The form up in the assembly positions were all complete by 1am after which the trench was camouflaged by the R.E. with trench screen There all ranks remained until 11am which was ZERO hour at Zero +1 A barrage opened and B + C Coys. Moved to the ——-with D Coy in support & A in Reserve.  The Bn. jumped off with splendid enthusiasm and was quick on the barrage the enemy was completely taken by surprise and offered little or no obstruction, both objectives were taken to the clock.  Casualties being slight.  The Bn. Consolidated on a line X28C5.85 – X25G25.20.”[6]

18 August 1918: 23 Other Ranks were killed in action or died of wounds. [7]


In 1919, Richard married Annie Stobbs [8] and they had 2 children Alice and June.  He worked at West Auckland colliery, in his later years as a pump house man.  He died in 1967 aged 72.[9]

With thanks to June Welsh.


BOWSER Richard


BOWSER Richard
Commemorative Scroll


[1] England Select Births and Christenings 1538-1975

[2] 1901 & 1911 census



[5] Medal Roll All medals are the property of Richard Wilson [grandson]

[6] 11th Bn. The Royal Scots War Diary

[7] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[8] England & Wales Marriage Index 1919 Q3 Auckland Vol.10a p.504

[9] England & Wales Death Index Durham Western Vol.1a p.650