CWG: Ordinary Seaman Cecil Bowyer

Ordinary Seaman Cecil Bowyer

Cecil Henry Bowyer was born in October 1900, the oldest of four children to Harry and Bessie Bowyer. Harry was a carter and, at the time of the 1901 census, the family lived in a small house in the middle of Bridgwater, with Harry’s sister, Bessie’s mother and an additional boarder.

Bessie was keen to earn her way, becoming a musical instrument dealer, while her husband moved on to work as a foreman for a coal merchant. By this time, the family had moved round the corner from their former home, and Harry and Bessie lived there with Cecil, his younger siblings Leslie, Henry and Doris, and another boarder.

Harry found himself before the Bankruptcy Court in 1913. By this time, he was carrying on business as a gramophone and cycle agent, as well as his carter business. Bad debts and living expenses were his downfall, however, and he found himself with a deficiency of £83 15s 5d. The examination was declared closed, according to the Wells Journal, but no outcome was reported.

War was looming, and the family did their bit. Harry joined up, enlisting in the Royal Engineers as a sapper. He was shipped to Salonica, Greece, where he served for much of the war.

Cecil, however, chose the seafaring route. He had to wait until he came of age before enlisting, however, and so it was late September 1918 before he joined the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve. He started his training at the training base in Crystal Palace, but was only there for a couple of weeks before he fell ill.

Contracting pneumonia, Ordinary Seaman Bowyer was admitted to hospital, but sadly this took him quickly, and he passed away on 11th October 1918 He had just turned 18 years old.

Cecil Henry Bowyer was brought back to Bridgwater to be buried; he lies at rest in the Wembdon Road Cemetery there.


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