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William Aldred Bowering

Rank: Private

Lifetime: 1896-1915

Reference: S4/056830

Private William Aldred Bowering of the 29th Divn Train of the Army Service Corps died on 3 August 1915. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. His father, William Bowering, lived at 36 Bushy Park, Road until 1912 and thereafter at 18, Wick Road, both of which were then within the postal district of Hampton Wick.

According to his entry in UK Soldiers who Died in the Great War, Private William Aldred Bowering was the son of William and Lily Agnes Bowering (nee Watkins)and had been born about October 1896 in Hampton Wick. He died in Egypt of wounds received in the Gallipoli campaign. He had been a resident of Hampton wick at the time he enlisted in Bulford.

His grandfather, the eponymous, William Aldred Bowering, a coach painter, had married Mathilda Griffiths on 12 March 1874, the daughter of James Griffiths, a licensed victualler from Battersea. The couple had a child, William (Private Bowering’s father) who was baptised at St Anne’s, Wandsworth, on April 1875. At this point Private Bowering’s grandfather is still described as a coach painter. However, by 1891 William Aldred Bowering (Private Bowering’s grandfather) must have gone into the bar trade (perhaps taking over the business of his wife’s father) as the grant of probate to his wife, Mathilda Bowering, of 23 May 1891 describes him as a licensed victualler and pig keeper late of The Ship Inn, Waterside, Wandsworth. He must have been successful because the estate, which was left entirely to his wife, was worth £1,965 and 11 shillings- a considerable sum in 1891.

Private Bowering’s father married his mother Lily Agnes Watkins in the last quarter of 1895 in Islington. Lily Watkins had been born in Kings Cross in about 1877. The family must have briefly lived in Hampton Wick shortly after his parents were married as Private Bowering was, apparently, born in Hampton Wick in late 1896. His birth was registered in Kingston in the last quarter of that year.

By the time of the 1901 Census, his parents were living at the family pub in Waterman’s Drive, Wandsworth. His father, aged 26, is described as a licensed victualler. At this point in addition to William and his wife, then aged 24, the family comprised William Aldred, then 4: his brother, James, aged 2 and another brother Albert Edward aged just 2 months. All of the children other than Private Bowering had been born in Wandsworth which suggests that the family moved back home to Wandsworth some time between 1897 and 1899. Perhaps this was when his father had inherited the pub.

Ten years later the family had lost the pub. His parents and siblings were living at 38 Bushey Park Road, then in the postal district of Hampton Wick. His father is now described as a carpenter and joiner and he is described as a “worker” i.e. was in the employment of someone else not working on his own account. The family had expanded the couple had had six children although one had died. The child who died must have been Albert Edward Bowering who had just been a baby of 2 months at the time of the previous Census. However, only 4 children are listed on the 1911 Census as living with the Bowering family: James (12); Vera Ethel (6); Bertha Adelaide (4) and Ernest (2). Private Bowering who would only have been about 15 is not included and it has not been possible to trace where he was living at this point. The two younger children were born in Teddington whereas Vera was born in Wandsworth so presumably the move to Teddington dates to around 1906.

By the time Private Bowering enlisted either in 1914 or early 1915 in Bulford he gave his place of residence as Hampton Wick, so perhaps, he had moved back into the family home. He took part in the Gallipoli campaign was wounded and then evacuated to Egypt where he died of his wounds. Mystery surrounds what happened to his body at this point. He does not have a grave but is merely commemorated on the Helles Memorial. From a note left on the Records of his Effects it would appear that the Army required repayment of the sum of £9 7s 1d on 5 November 1915 from his parents which had been overpaid to Private Bowering.

Private Bowering is not commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial but is included on the war memorial in St Mark’s Church and on the Teddington War Memorial (as “Bowring”). He also has an entry on the Online WW1 War Memorial for Teddington.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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