Service number 63827
Born: October 8th 1913
Died: July 24th 1942
“Johnnie” Bowes was the only child of Tom Armstrong Bowes MD and his wife, Gertrude Ann Lee of 6, Marine Terrace, Herne Bay, Kent. His father was a General Practitioner in Herne Bay.
He was educated at St. George’s School, Herne Bay for a year, before going to Ripley Court School, Surrey in May 1924. In 1927, he went to Charterhouse where he was both a Junior and a Senior Scholar and was Head of his house [Robinites] He matriculated in 1932 having won a Holford Exhibition to Christ Church where he read Classics.
He returned to Charterhouse to teach classics for two terms in 1938. He moved to Brighton College and in 1940, he was offered a teaching post at Eton where he would assist with drama and sport, also.
He was called up in August 1940 and joined the RAFVR. With Peter Basson, he was posted to 149 Squadron on the 13th July 1942, from 1651 Conversion Flight.
Ten days later, at 01.11am on the night of July 23/24 1942, Stirling No. W7580 took off from RAF Lakenheath, in East Anglia. The operation was a bombing raid on Duisburg, just over the German border.
The plane which he was piloting, was shot down by a German night-fighter of 1./NJG. The aircraft crashed at 03.25am, into a field near to the village of Geffen (Noord Brabant), 5km SW of Oss in Holland.
The crew were Sgt N. Acton, [Flight Engineer]; Sgt D. Morris, [Observer]; Sgt G Blatherwick, [W/Op]; Sgt E.H. Boumphrey, [A/G Forward]; Sgt E.C. Isted, [A/G Mid. Upper]; P/O Peter H.Basson, [A/G Rear].
All of them died and they were buried, temporarily, in the garden of the parish priest. The bodies were later exhumed and re-buried.
“Johnnie” and his crew are buried in Uden War Cemetery, collective grave 4.I.10-13.
Further information is held by the Museum in Geffen, Holland
A Memorial Notice in The Times on July 24th 1943 said
“In proud memory of Flying Officer Anthony John Lee Bowes RAFVR and his brave crew who gave their lives for King and Country. July 24 1942.
In unfading love, dear John and grateful thanks to God for all our happy years
“Into the Mosaic of victory
I lay this precious piece”
Johnnie was a keen sportsman with interests in drama, music, ornithology and entomology.
He made several discoveries of “new” moths and butterflies and his Diaries and Papers are held by the Natural History Museum GB/NNAF/P162038 (Former ISAAR ref: GB/NNAF/P32850)
Oidematophorus bowesi Whalley, Ent. Gaz., 11:29 (1960). This moth was taken by the late Mr. A. J. L. Bowes at Ashford in Kent, but it was not discovered until 1960 when his collection was examined in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) by Mr. P. E. S. Whalley. It is well established in Kent where it feeds on Golden Rod.
With thanks to his cousin and Charterhouse.