Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Henry Bowen was born in Bridgnorth in 1892 and was baptised at St Leonardís on 5th July, 1893. He was the son of Edward Bowen, a scrap dealer, and Mary his wife. In 1911 the family was living at 23 Cartway and Henry was working as a hawker and general scrap dealer.
Henry served in the 7th Battalion Kingís Shropshire Light Infantry. He was killed in action on 9th April, 1917, the first day of the First Battle of the Scarpe (part of the Battle of Arras 1917).
FIRST BATTLE OF THE SCARPE, 1917
At 8.50 a.m. on April 9th the 8th Brigade advanced to the attack on the German third line. A strong west wind was blowing and heavy snow falling. On reaching Tilloy in the German second line it was found that the village had not been cleared. Captain Thursfield, commanding the left-front company, accordingly decided to move round the northern flank of the village and capture the Bois des Boeufs. On seeing this movement, parties of the enemy were sent from Tilloy to assist the garrison in Bois des Boeufs. These parties were attacked with bombs, cut off, and 3 officers and 90 men captured. The 7th K.S.L.I, then cleared the Bois des Boeufs, capturing a further 36 prisoners. The advance was then continued towards the German third line, but was hung up about 2.30 p.m. by intense rifle and machine-gun fire from the flanks. In addition, very strong wire, entirely untouched by the bombardment, was found in front of the position.
A further bombardment to cut this wire was ordered at 5-30, the infantry attack to be resumed at 7 p.m. Unfortunately the bombardment failed in its purpose and the subsequent infantry attack was unsuccessful. The 12th Division on the left had been hung up early in the afternoon, and misleading reports as to their position exposed our left flank again to very heavy enfilade machine-gun fire. News was received that another bombardment of the position was to be made, and a third infantry attack to follow on the morning of the 10th. In the meantime the 7th K.S.L.I. dug themselves in about 600 yards from the enemy, being on the left flank of the Brigade. The assault at 12 noon on the 10th was completely successful, and the enemy's third line (Fenchy-Wancourt) was taken. [Wood: History of the KSLI in the Great War pp 237-8.]
Henry Bowen is commemorated on the Arras Memorial
Private Bowen, 22349, was awarded the Victory and British Medals.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.