James Cecil Bowyer

Thank you to Bruce Kettles for providing the service file


Jun 6, 1897

Born to John Thomas and Jane Burgess (nee Granger) Bowyer in Strathcona, Ontario


Oct 22, 1914

Shown on the payroll of the 15th Regiment, Argyll Light Infantry


Nov 7, 1914

Attested into the 21st Battalion at Kingston Ontario

Ø      Number 59086 (temporary number 840)

Ø      Next of kin given as Mrs Jane T Bowyer, mother, of 3 Meyers St, Belleville, Ontario

Ø      Previous occupation given as Labourer

Ø      Previous military experience given as 15th Regiment, Argyll Light Infantry at Belleville, Ontario

Ø      Religion given as Church of England

Ø      Assigned to “H” Company

o       This was later reorganized into “D” Company

o       He was later transferred to the Scout Section


Nov 10, 1914

Removed from the 15th Regiment’s roll


May 6, 1915

Embarked the RMS Metagama at Montreal Quebec


May 15, 1915

Disembarked at Devonport, England and proceeded to the West Sandling Camp, near Hythe, Kent


Sep 14, 1915

Embarked the St Seiriol at Folkestone


Sep 15, 1915

Disembarked at Boulogne, France and proceeded to St Omer


Oct 3, 1915

While on a night patrol in no man’s land, Pte Bowyer received bullet wound to his back in the vicinity of his right kidney and died almost instantly.  He was the first fatal casualty of the 21st Battalion, and possibly the first in the 4th Brigade.  However, there was a fatal casualty in the 19th Battalion on the same day, and I have been unable to determine which occurred first.  Each Battalion laid claim to the first combat death of the Brigade.


Oct 4, 1915

Pte Bowyer was buried with full military honours by his comrades, along with Pte Starkey who had been killed shortly after Bowyer on the same day.  They were buried alongside each other in the St Quentin Cabaret Military Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Belgium

Following the war the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal, Plaque (Dead Man’s Penny) and Scroll were sent to his father, JJ Bowyer, at Belleville, Ontario

The Memorial Cross was sent to his mother, Mrs JJ Bowyer, at the same address 

Below is from Ordinary Heroes, Eastern Ontario's 21st Battalion CEF, in The Great War,
by Stephen J Nichol, pages 40 - 41


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