William Henry BOWERS
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 12123
Unit: 10th Battalion CHESHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 9 October 1917
Age: 25
Cemetery: Gorre British & Indian Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

The research into the story of Sergeant Bowers has been one of confusion for some while. He is recorded on three war memorials and has already been researched by John Eaton for his book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon". More recent research for this project only adds to the confusion.

There are some aspects of his life and death that are certain. He had been born in Poynton, was a married man and the father of one child and he worked at Robinson's hatworks in Romiley. He had enlisted at the beginning of the war, his service number suggesting this was in August or September 1914. His date of death and place of burial are correct.

Certainly he must have had some connection with Hazel Grove as he is recorded on the local War Memorial. John Eaton concludes that he was living there at the time of his enlistment and that his wife only moved to 32 Hawkins Street, South Reddish after the war. Recent research indicates that a newspaper obituary of the time shows her to be already living there in 1917. It is, of course, possible that she moved there some time between his enlistment and his death. Equally, his commemoration on the Memorial may be by family who lived in the area.

The South Reddish Memorial wrongly records him as serving with the 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment. That Battalion saw all of its service in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq).

William Bowers is buried several miles away from where the 10th Battalion's location, at Ypres. John Eaton concludes that the most likely explanation is that he was wounded, his Battalion moved, and he subsequently died. However, military records not available to Mr Eaton (Soldiers Died in the Great War) confirms that William was killed in action (i.e. killed outright).

It must be reasonable to conclude, therefore, that William was probably attached to another unknown, unit at the time of his death. Major "attachments" would normally be recorded in the Battalion's War Diary but there no relevant records in this case. It is possible, therefore, that William was part of a small secondment , perhaps for specialist NCO training.

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