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  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle.
Person Details
Huthwaite Nottinghamshire
Samuel was the son of James and Eliza Bowler (née Gelsthorpe). His father James was born in Huthwaite in 1860 (J/F/M Mansfield), the son of John and Martha Bowler. In 1881 James was a framework knitter and living with his parents in Huthwaite. His mother Eliza was also born in Huthwaite in about 1867, the daughter of George and Sarah Gelsthorpe. In 1881 she was living with her parents in Huthwaite and working as a hosiery seamer. James and Eliza were married at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene, Sutton in Ashfield, on 21 February 1886 (J/F/M Mansfield). They had eleven children of whom five had died before 1911 and another died in 1913. Nine children have been traced on the census and birth registration records: Beatrice b. 26 November 1888 (J/F/M Mansfield), John George b. 1889 (A/M/J Mansfield) d. 1908 (A/M/J Mansfield), Samuel b. 1891 (J/A/S Mansfield), Gershom birth registered 1893 (J/F/M Mansfield) d. 29 March 1913 (A/M/J Mansfield), Margaret Annie b. 1895 (J/A/S Mansfield), Arthur Handel b. 1898 (A/M/J Mansfield) d. 1908 (O/N/D Mansfield), Sarah Martha b. 28 May 1902 (A/M/J Mansfield), Thomas b. 31 October 1904 (O/N/D Mansfield) and Reginald Bloomer b. 1906 (O/N/D Mansfield) d. 1908 (A/M/J Mansfield). According to a newspaper report of Samuel's death in 1917, the two unidentified children were boys. In 1891, five years after their marriage, James (30) and Eliza (24), who were both hosiery factory hands, and their two children Beatrice (3) and John (2), were living with Eliza's parents, George and Sarah Gelsthorpe and their six children, at Coope Buildings, Main Street, Huthwaite. Samuel was born later that year. James and Eliza were living on Sherwood Street, Huthwaite, in 1901. Also in the home were their seven children Beatrice (18), John (11), Samuel (9), Gershom (8), Margaret (5), Arthur (3) and Thomas (1). James and Eliza had at least three children in the following five years: Sarah, Thomas and Reginald. However, three of the nine children who have been identified died in 1908: John George (18), Arthur Handel (10) and Reginald Bloomer (1). By 1911 the family was living on Main Street. Five of the six surviving children were still living with their parents: Samuel (19) a colliery loader, Gershom (16) a collier gang lad underground, Margaret (15) a hosiery hand and Sarah (8) and Tom (6) who were still at school. The sixth child, Beatrice, had married Walter Frederick Bowers in 1910 (J/F/M Mansfield) and in 1911 she and Walter (23 b. Cambridge) a coal miner, were living on Wraggs Lane, Skegby, with their son Frederick Robert (b. 20 June 1910). One of the three surviving sons, Gershom, was killed in a mining accident at New Hucknall Colliery on 29 March 1913 (see 'Extra information'). Samuel's mother, Eliza, died on 27 May 1930 (A/M/J Mansfield). Administration of her will was awarded to her only surviving son, Thomas Bowler, a hosiery hand. His father, James, died 12 months later on 26 May 1931. At the time of James' death he was living at Hillcrest, Sutton Road, Huthwaite. Administration of his will was also awarded to Thomas. Of Samuel's three surviving siblings: Beatrice was living with her husband Walter Bowers in Sutton in Ashfield in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled. Walter (b. 19 June 1887) was a coal hewer (incapacitated). Also in the houshold were their children Frederick R. a dairy farmer, Eliza A. (b. 24 December 1914) a machine seamer and Beatrice (b. 10 August 1921) a carder in the folding room, both working for a hosiery manufacturer. Beatrice probably died in 1967 (J/A/S Mansfield). Sarah Martha married John A Fidler (b. 14 July 1905) in 1928 (J/F/M Mansfield). In 1939 they were living at Hillcrest, Sutton in Ashfield; John was an assurance agent. Sarah died in 1980 (A/M/J Mansfield). Thomas has not yet been positively identified on records after 1911, apart from his parents' records of probate in 1930 and 1931, although he may have married Edith A Barnes in 1937, been living in Huthwaite in 1939 and died in 1959.
He was a colliery loader in 1911 but later left the mining industry and was employed by Messrs. Eden and Sons
05 Aug 1917
52851 - CWGC Website
Resident Huthwaite, enlisted Mansfield
Lance Sergeant
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Sergeant Bowler joined the Sherwood Foresters in 1914 (2224 Private, 305447 Corporal). He served in France from 2 March 1915 and died in the field two years later on 5 August 1917 of head wounds which he had received during a raid on German trenches the night of 4/5 August. He is buried in Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, Pas de Calais, France (grave ref. I.U.17). Samuel qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Not gone from memory or from love' Samuel's younger brother Gershom was killed in a mining accident in 1913 which was referred to in the local paper in its report of Samuel's death in 1917. Details of the accident and an extract from a report published in the local paper at the time are below: Coal Mining Accidents & Deaths Index 1878-1935 - Gershom Bowler: b. abt 1893 aged 20. Death date: 29 March 1913 Occupation loader. Colliery: New Hucknall. Owner: New Hucknall Colliery Co. Ltd. Notes: As deceased was passing a tram in the old tub road a stone weighing 4 tons fell and buried him. It dropped out inside the rows of timber. The accident would have been prevented by the systematic use of bars or by setting middle props in the old tub level. Mansfield Reporter, 4 April 1913: ‘Fatal Fall of Roof. Huthwaite Miner Crushed by Five Tons of Stone. The story of the death of a young Huthwaite miner named Gershom Bowler, aged 20, of Main-street, who was badly crushed on Saturday morning by a fall of between four and five tons of stone, which came from the roof, was told to the coroner (Mr D Whittingham) at the inquest which was held at the Council Officesr on Monday afternoon ...James Bowler, the father, gave evidence of identification … [transcript of evidence of witnesses and the night deputy] … The jury returned a verdict of ‘Accidental death.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Advertiser 24th August 1917: HUTHWAITE SERGEANT HIT IN THE HEAD A former employee of Messrs. Eden and Sons, the Hermitage, and a man well-known to many people in Mansfield, was killed in action on the night of the 4th. inst., when Sergeant Sam Bowler, of Main Street, Huthwaite, fell in France. The deceased joined the Army in September, 1914, and was with the County Regiment, the Sherwood Foresters, by whom he is greatly missed, as the appended letters show. Second Lieut. R.W. Clarke wrote to the father as follows:- “On the Field, 7th. August, 1917, Dear Mr. Bowler,- Am very sorry to write to tell you of your son’s death, killed in action. A splendid man, a very good N.C.O., and a real soldier. He was hit in the head, and it may comfort you to know that death was instantaneous. It was on a raid on the night of the 4th. inst. In the name of the Company officers and men, I offer you deepest sympathy.” The following letter has also been received: “Dear Friend, - It is with deepest sympathy and regret that I write to you to inform you of the death of Sergt. S. Bowler, who was killed in action on the night of the 4th and 5th. As you know, Sam was one of my best pals. We were engaged in raiding the enemy’s trenches, and Sam was between the German front lines and the enemy’s barbed wire, and we were all preparing to rush the German front line when Sam got hit. He shouted out, and was bandaged up, but while being bandaged up he died. He was hit in the head, but I couldn’t say whether it was a bullet or shell. The officer has written to his father, and explained how it happened. All the boys in the platoon join with me in the loss of so great a friend, with the company officers, sergeant-major, quartermaster-sergeant, and the platoon sergeants. I expect you have heard that Charlie Meadows had been wounded the day before Sam. Well, I think that is all I can send you this time. If I get to know any more particulars, I will let you know. I remain, yours sincerely, Sergt. W. Harrison.” Notts Free Press – 24th August, 1917: SERGEANT S. BOWLER, HUTHWAITE “In the field, 7th August, 1917. I am very sorry to write to tell you of your son's death – killed in action – a splendid man, a very good N.C.O., and a real soldier. He was hit in the head, and it may comfort you to know that death was instantaneous. It was on a raid on the night of the 4th inst. In the name of the Company officers and men I offer you deepest sympathy. R.W.Clarke, 2nd Lieut.,1/8th Platoon, b Company, 1/8th Sherwood Foresters.” Note: 2nd Lieut RW Clarke survived the war. In the foregoing manner was the news received of the death of Sergeant Sam Bowler, whose home was at 103, Main Street, Huthwaite. The official notification has not yet been received, but the news is confirmed by a Sutton soldier named Marsh, who was home on leave last week, and a Huthwaite man also sends word that he has seen Bowler’s grave, which is being very nicely kept. Sergeant Bowler was 26 years old, and enlisted in September, 1914, being at that time employed at Hermitage factory, Mansfield and before that he was a miner. He went out to France about two years ago, and gained his three stripes at the front. He had had two leaves, the latter being at Whitsuntide last. He was a splendid soldier, and was greatly liked and respected throughout the whole of his career. Previously to enlisting his hobby was music and he played the euphonium in a local orchestra. With his death, his parents have lost six sons out of seven, nearly all at promising ages, he being the only one left eligible for the army. Four have died of disease, and one was killed in the mine a few years ago [Gershom, 1913]. This fact caused Sergeant Bowler to give up pit work, and eventually led to his enlisting though if he had remained a miner there would of course have been no claim upon him.' Mansfield Reporter 31 Aug 1917: ‘Local and District News. For Those Who Have Fallen. A special service was held in the Leeming Street Primitive Methodist church on Sunday evening in memory of those associated with the church who had fallen in the war. The service was conducted by the Rev. Chas. F. Gill (superintendent minister). The names mentioned were: Harold Blythe, Wm Andrews, George Ed. Fletcher, William Fletcher, Fred H Tudge, Albert E Binch, Archie Draycott, Sam Bowler and Frank Weighell. Mr Gill delivered a suitable address, on the words, ‘He healeth the broken in heart.’ He urged his hearers to commit their loved ones, and also their own lives, to the keeping of the God of infinite tenderness, and so find consolation in the hour of trial. The service was very impressive.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Registers of Soldiers' Effects: his father James was his sole legatee. WW1 Pension Ledgers: dependants James and Eliza Bowler.
Remembered on


  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle.
    Samuel Bowler - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone at Philosophe British Cemetery, Mazingarbe, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle.