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Campaign Groups and Pairs


‘What were you doing when the explosion occurred? Standing by hammocks in the Gun Room flat.


Did you see any military Officers there? There were three came up the hatch just in front of me.


On to the upper deck? Yes, Sir.


Who were they? I don’t know.


Was one a very tall man with stooping shoulders? Yes, one was very tall.


Dressed in khaki? Yes, in Khaki.


Did anyone tell you who he was? I heard he was Lord Kitchener.


State briefly what happened. We were standing by hammocks and we heard what sounded like a big sea hit the ship. About a second after someone shouted out “No panic lads.” I could not get up aft and went forward to the Marines hatch. Then I went up the after hatch. I went on the upper deck and saw the Captain by the galley. He was shouting out for Lord Kitchener to get into the boat. Then I went to the starboard side, launched the float and got into her.


How did you launch the float? She was on slips and we pushed her off. The float pulled me in with it.


Can you swim? Yes, Sir.


Did you have a lifebelt on? No, Sir.


How many men were there in your float? About forty.


Did the men in the raft have lifebelts or waistcoats on? A very few had waistcoats.


Were they any good?


They kept them afloat. But it was the cold and the exposure that killed them. Were any boats launched from the ship?


No, Sir. I saw none. I saw a whaler turned out but she broke in halves.


Was the explosion caused by a mine or a torpedo? A mine.


Did you see Lord Kitchener when the Captain was singing out? No, Sir.


Did they get the galley out? Yes, Sir.


In the water? I could not say. She was slung on the third cutter’s davits.’


Bowman was transferred to H.M.S. Rocket on 11 June 1916, and later served on the Q-ship Ceanothus (aka Caird and Linkman) from 30 October 1917 to 29 April 1919. His L.S. & G.C. medal was awarded in May 1929. He passed for Rigger in April 1933 and was pensioned on 1 April 1936, but continued to serve as A.B. (Pensioner) in various ships and shore establishments. On 28 September 1939, he joined the armed merchant cruiser H.M.S. Ranpura which sailed for India in September 1939 and spent Christmas there, returning to Atlantic convoy duty early in 1940. Bowman returned to shore on the books of Victory I on 17 December 1941, and remained shore-based until his final release on 13 September 1945. He died in Norfolk in 1968.


Sold with five later Sports Medals: Silver (Tug of War Bermuda 1927 J. R. Bowman); Silver America & West Indies Station 1927, Cutters Challenge Cup (J. R. Bowman A.B.); Silver and Gold (Three Mile Whaler Race 1928 ”Bermuda” J. R. Bowman); Silver ‘Heavy Tug of War 1928 H.M.S. Despatch’, Bermuda (J. R. Bowman); Bronze Tug of War, ‘Med Fleet 1934 Runner Up 130 Stone’, this last unnamed, all but the first cased or boxed; together with a contemporary photographic image of F.M. Kitchener in uniform wearing medals, a postcard photograph of the recipient and full research.


www.dnw.co.uk all lots are illustrated on our website and are subject to buyers’ premium at 24% (+VAT where applicable)


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