43rd Battalion, AIF
Serial Number: 2288
Date/Place of Birth: 1885, Penrith, NSW
Date/Place of Death: 4 July 1918, Hamel, France
Biographical details: Joseph Bowes was born in Penrith in 1890, the son of Joseph and Ellen Jane (nee Beatty) Bowes. The family moved to Mullewa Western Australia and at the time of Joseph’s death, the family were residing at the Murchison Club Hotel, Cue Western Australia. A brother John Beatty Bowes was killed on 12 October 1917 while serving with the 48th Battalion. On enlistment, Joseph Bowes listed his occupation as farmer and prospector.
Service details: Bowes enlisted on 1 June 1916 and was allotted to the 4th Reinforcements 43rd Battalion. Bowes departed from Fremantle aboard A16 Port Melbourne on 30 October 1916. During the voyage, Bowes was absent without leave on 19 November 1916 and forfeited one days pay. After disembarking at Devonport, England on 28 December 1916, Bowes spent almost two months at 11th Training Battalion, before embarking at Folkestone for France aboard the S S Golden Eagle on 25 February 1917. He was taken on strength by the 43rd Battalion on 9 March 1917. The 43rd Battalion spent 1917 bogged in bloody trench warfare in Flanders. In June the battalion took part in the battle of Messines and in October the Third Battle of Ypres. On 27 October 1917, Bowes was detached to the 11th Brigade School and rejoined his unit on 9 November 1917. He was promoted to T/Corporal On 5 December 1917 but reverted to Private at his own request on 9 January 1918. Bowes proceeded to Paris on leave rejoining his unit on 13 December 1917. On 27 February 1918, Bowes again took leave in Paris rejoining his unit on 14 March 1918. He was appointed a Lance Corporal on 16 March 1918.
The battalion spent much of 1918 fighting in the Somme valley. In April they helped stop the German Spring offensive at Villers-Bretonneux. On 14 April 1918, Bowes received gunshot wounds to his right thigh and was admitted to 5th Casualty Clearing Station before being transferred to the 12th Casualty Clearing Station the following day. On 17 April 1918, Bowes was admitted to 1 General Hospital located at Etretat, France. On 27 April 1918, Bowes was transferred to 1 Australian Convalescent Depot, Havre. On 2 May 1918, Bowes suffered a relapse and was admitted to 2 General Hospital at Rouen before being transferred back to the Convalescent Depot five days later. On 17 May 1918, Bowes reported to the Australian Infantry Base Depot at Havre and rejoined his unit on 25 May 1918.
On 5 June 1918, Bowes was detached to a sniping school rejoining his unit on 9 June 1918. On 4 July 1918, Bowes was wounded in action for the second time. According to eye witness Lance Corporal W S Spicer of the 43rd Battalion, Bowes who was serving with B Company, was wounded by a stick-handle grenade at Hamel about 7 or 8 am. He received wounds to the stomach and was taken away by stretcher bearers and died shortly after being admitted to the 13th Australian Field Ambulance near Bonnai.
Memorial Details: Bowes was buried at Hamlet Military Communal Cemetery Extension 3/4 mile east southeast of Corbie. He was reburied at the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery Fouilloy, France and is commemorated on Memorial Pane 136, 170 Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery Fouilloy, France.
National Archives of Australia Search: B2455 BOWES J