Last year I heard about a great great uncle John who died on Armistice Day 1918. Today, I learnt of another great great uncle who was awarded the Military Medal. Once again it was via Facebook after a picture was posted of his medals which are in the London Transport Museum.
This time, the great great uncle in question was given by the poster by the name of Philip Bowden, this confused my mother when I phoned her to clarify. But when I then telephoned my grandmother, I asked the simple question:
Thinking of the Great War, can you think of any Bowden family member who was awarded the Military Medal?
Straight away, she answered,
Yes. Philip Sidney Bowden, my uncle.
From what Granny said—and going on what is listed next to the medals in the London Transport Museum—he had joined the Army when 16, was blinded by a gas attack, but had recovered. Then he was awarded the Military Medal for carrying a wounded colleague to safety under enemy fire. It is reported that he said that
it was only what any of the boys would do.
Although I never met Uncle Sid, I have met his daughter, Jean, at one of the parties organised by my grandparent in the last twenty-five years. It turned out that she was also a bellringer. I think we managed to get her ringing at something once in St Andrew’s Parish Church, Calstock.
Yesterday, Europe remembered the beginning of the Great War. Later in the year, wherever I am attending Remembrance Services, I will be remembering particular people: quite a change from a few years ago, when I found it difficult as I didn’t think I knew of anyone from the family.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.