Letters From The Bowes Brothers – Nov. 7, 1917 France

October 22, 2013 by Tom MacGregor

Dear Mrs. Bowes,

My heart is heavy, so I feel called upon to write you with sad and even sadder news. The only consolation I feel in writing is that when the mother at home made the initial sacrifice at home and sent their sons overseas, they, in great uncertainty, committed them to God and knew not whether any would come back. As I write you now, I feel there is no help anywhere else for you except in God when you read the sad news that the third of your three boys has passed beyond.

Ever since his two brothers fell, I have tried to keep in touch with him. He was always the same boy he was when he left home. Up until almost six weeks ago, I saw him frequently. Then I was taken ill and was away from the battalion about five weeks, joining them again just before going into action, so that I [had not seen] him since. You will have seen some account of the hard fighting in the press. The conditions this time were worse than I have ever seen. The wide, almost level plain sloping gradually to the ridge, the deep mud and worst, the absence of any shelter, the more or less open fighting and the intensive fire of the enemy. Yet our boys did magnificently, fulfilling all expectations and taking all the ground they were sent for. Your son D.C. Bowes, 622720, was with the men in the charge. In the first line, he was hit by a shell and death was instant.

Owing to the changed conditions of the fighting, chaplains were sent to different points with different duties. I was tending the wounded; another chaplain took charge of the burying of the fallen. I have no doubt but that his remains were buried and the place properly marked, as we are very particular about these matters and all are carefully laid away if at all possible. If any personal effects were recovered by the burial officer, they would be forwarded through London, but it may be some months before you receive them.

Before going into action, he left his watch with Pte. Watt of A Company to send directly to you if anything should happen to him. I saw Watt and he is sending it on. I doubt if there is anything I can add. Your son was a splendid type of what any mother might be proud, liked by all and a capable and efficient soldier. You have given so much in this war, that I can say nothing more, only that our sympathies are with you and we pray God to give you help.

Yours in deepest sympathy,

George Farquhar,

Chaplain

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