Vernon Bowmer MC (1895–1919)


Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) PS/6262 21st Battalion
Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 219786 16th (Service) Battalion (Chatsworth Rifles)

Photo courtesy Katleen Bowmer (née Haynes)

Vernin Bowmer in WW1

Vernon was the son of John Bowmer and Mary Ann Hartstone. He was the youngest of five brothers: Alfred, Arthur, Ernest, John James and Vernon. They were born at Park Head before moving to "The White House" just above the Cross. Vernon was a keen footballer. He married Dorothy Phillipa Perrett in 1918.

Photograph courtesy Sue Worboys

Vernon Bowmer with Crich Football Club

Back row: John Bowmer, Alfred Bowmer, ?, Fred Brown (Jottie), Blucher Bowmer,
Charlie Harper, Jim Wragg (goalie), Donald Hawkes, George Booker, ?, Don Nadin, ?,
Front row: Vernon Bowmer, Cyril Booth, Harry Lynam, ? Harrison

Chesterfield FC Records
Vernon BOWMER played outside-right for Chesterfield Town, born 1895 at Crich, died 9/10/1919 Bath, played 1913-1914 transferred from Crich Town. Played once.
From the Sky is Blue Website :
" Lieutenant Vernon Bowmer, of Crich, played once for the Town side. He served with the 16th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. He survived the shooting war but was badly wounded, and died in a military hospital at Bath on October 9th, 1919. He won the Military Cross in 1917 for conspicuous gallantry in action, having organised bombing parties that, according to his citation, "accounted for a large number of Germans."

Crich Area Community News article

Article on Bowmer brothers

From "Lucky Whites and Spireites" by Stuart Basson

Before enlistment he worked in the Civil Service. In France during 1915 he was commissioned to the 16th Foresters. During 1917, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry, having organised bombing parties. He had a gunshot wound to the eye and died in Bath Hospital. His funeral had a guard of honour, a procession through Crich and a full military honours at the burial.

Photo courtesy Katleen Bowmer (née Haynes)

Vernon Bowmer sat in a boat

Field Ambulance Record
V Bowmer , aged 21
Rank: 2nd Lieutenant
Years Service: 1 year 11 months
Months with Field Force: 8 months
Ailment: Influenza
Date discharged Back to Duty: 28/10/1916
Date of transfer from Sick Covoy: 24/10/1916
Number of days under treatment: 5
Notes written in the Observations Column: Transferred from 57th Field Ambulance
Religion: C of E
Regiment: Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)
Battalion: 16th (Service) Battalion (Chatsworth Rifles)
Other Units: 39th Division

Medal Index Record
Vernon's Medal Index Card informs us that Vernon served with the 21st Royal Fusiliers PS/6262 before being transferred to the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment where he was promoted to second Lieutenant; he was commissioned on 4 August 1916. Vernon was posted to France on 14 August 1915. He was awarded the Military Cross, Victory, British and Star Medals. It also stated he was eligible for the Silver War Badge. His widow’s address was given as 144 Bloor St East; Toronto, Canada.

Newspaper articles

Derbyshire Courier 30 August 1913
That nothing succeeds like success is being verified by the Town club who are launching out in the fields hitherto untrodden. This season sees the Premier team competing in the preliminary stages of the English Cup Competition and the match at Crich is, when the homesters oppose Gresley Colliery in the first round, will arouse great enthusiasm. Although losing the services of the speedy right winger Vernon Bowmer, who was signed for Chesterfield Town, the team can still claim the title of the "Bowmer" team. As John, in goal, Thomas and the old warhorse Sam at the back, with Ernest and John at halfback will still be prominent figures in the eleven. Although last season's players are P. S. Smith, Walter Smith, Jos. Leafe (who is again to be skipper), Francis Brumwell (vice captain), G. Bollington, F. Dawes and Henry Holmes. New players include W. Hunt (South Wingfield) Jas. Holmes (late Ripley Town), and A. Rawlings (Derby), while several more are on view. The officials are: President, Mr Maurice Deacon; committee Messrs. D.P. Hawkes (chairman), S.Holmes, Hy Wardle, H.Taylor, J. Bingham, J. Whetton, G. Brumwell, H. Burrows, J. Buckley, S. Beresford, A. Nash, W. R. Clayton and P. S.Smith. Mr Geo. Howsley, who ably carried out the secretarial duties last season, again fulfilled the office. The headquarters are at the Cliff Inn and the ground which has been strongly fenced is the Cliff Lane Field the club colours are black and white.
The first home match is on September 6th when Hanging Bridge are visitors. Mr Lot Heappey has been appointed groundsmen. The secretary states that in numerous instances the subscriptions have been doubled from last year and the outlook bespeaks a prosperous season.

Derbyshire Courier, 13 January 1917
Crich military Cross winner wounded
Sec. Lieut. Vernon Bowmer, Sherwood Foresters, The Cross, Crich, was badly wounded in action on the Somme front last week. A telegram from the War Office, received by Mr Bowmer on Monday night stated that Sec. Lieut. Bowmer had been admitted to the 17th Stationery Hospital, Boulogne, on 8 January, "suffering from serious gun-shot wound in the eye. Further news will be wired immediately received." A few days earlier Sec. Lieut. Bowmer had written home informing his parents that he had been awarded the Military Cross. He is extremely popular in Crich and is well known in football circles. For a time he played with Chesterfield.

26 January 1917

His Majesty the KING has been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on the undermentioned Officers and Warrant Officers, in recognition of their gallantry.
Temp. 2nd Lt. Vernon Bowmer, Notts. & Derby. R.
For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his platoon with great dash and showed marked initiative and ability. He organised bombing parties and accounted for a large number of Germans

Derbyshire Times, 3 February 1917
Vernon Bowmer newspaper photographIt was announced in the "London Gazette" on the 26th January that His Majesty the King had been graciously pleased to confer the Military Cross on Second Lieutenant Vernon Bowmer, of the Sherwood Foresters, The official account was a follows: – "For conspicuous gallantry in action. He led his platoon with great dash and showed marked initiative and ability. He organised bombing parties and accounted for a large number of Germans" Lieutenant Bowmer is the fifth son of Mr and Mrs John Bowmer of White House, Crich. He enlisted in the Public Schoolboy's Corps in the early stages of the War, and earned his commission whilst fighting on the Western Front. On his promotion he was attached to the Sherwoods. Since he won the distinction referred to above ne has been severely wounded by machine-gun fire, and has unfortunately lost his left eye, but we are glad to hear that he is now making satisfactory progress at St Mark's College, Chelsea, which is now a hospital. Lieut. Bowmer was educated at Crich British and Wirksworth Grammar Schools, and on leaving the latter he elected to enter the Civil Service, and was some considerable time in London. He however left the Metropolis to take up a position at the Derby establishment of Messrs Bemrose and Sons, where he was engaged at the time War broke out. He is a member of the Crich Baptist Church, and in pre-war days took an interest in Sunday School work. An all-round athlete he is a worthy representative of the renown "Bowmer" family of Crich sportsmen. He was the popular outside-right of the Crich Town Football Club, and is also experienced at cricket, tennis, running, etc., and at billiards knows how to handle a cue. Four of Mr and Mrs Bowmer's sons are in the Army.the other being ineligible owing to loss of a limb in an accident years ago. Lieut. Bowmer is 21 years of age and single. His success is particularly gratifying to the inhabitants of the parish of Crich.

Derby Telegraph, 11 October 1919
The death has taken place at Bourmouth of Lieut. Vernon Bowmer, of The Cross, Crich. An operation took place on Wednesday for an internal complaint, following a severe attack of dysentry, contacted on foreign service. Lieut. Bowmer was awarded the M.C. for leading his men, and also losing an eye in the same engagement. He was widely known in football and cricket circles in the locality.

Derbyshire Courier, 18 October 1919
Lieut Bowmer’s death
Impressive Military Funeral at Crich
A gloom, was cast over Crich on Thursday of last week, when the news reached the village that Lt Vernon Bowmer, M.C., youngest son of Mr and Mrs John Bowmer, White House, Crich, had died at Bath War Hospital. Lt Bowmer, who was taking a course of studies at the Bath Technical School of, Commerce, was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday and passed away the same day, death being do to asthma
An old Council School and Wirksworth Grammar School scholar. Lieutenant Bowmer afterwards entered the civil service and went to London. Later he came to Derby to take up the appointment of private secretary to Col Bemrose in 1915 he joined the Public Schools Battalion, 21st Royal Fusiliers, and saw considerable service in France before returning to England to receive a commissioned rank. In 1916 he gained cross to France as second lieutenant in the 16th Sherwoods, and in January of the following year he was awarded the Military CROSS WOUNDED for conspicuous bravery and dashing enterprise at St Pierre Diviel. In this action he received a serious gunshot wound in the face, resulting in the loss of his left eye.
Before he joined the Army, Mr Bowmer made a name as an athlete. He was a member of the Crich Town Football team, which won the Cavendish Cup and the following season he appeared for the Chesterfield club.
The body was bought to Crich on Tuesday and was interred with MILITARY honours. As the remains were taken to Bath station a guard of honour, consisting of demobilised officers, who were the deceased's fellow students at the Bath Technical School of Commerce, formed outside the station. At Crich a large crowd assembled to pay a last tribute of respect to the gallant young officer. A number of "Derby" comrades formed a firing party. The coffin was draped with the Union Jack, and the deceased's cap and belt were placed upon it. The Crich silver price band headed the funeral procession, and played the Dead March on the road to the church. The last rites were performed by the Rev R.O.Wilson, Vicar. Three volleys were fired over the grave by the firing part, and the buglers surrounded the "Last Post," The band afterwards plays a memoriam selection.
The mourners were Mrs V.Bowmer (widow), Mr and Mrs J Bowmer (father and mother), Alfred, Arthur, Ernest and John (Bros), Mrs Alfred Bowmer, and Mrs J.J.Bowmer (sisters-in-law), Mr G.Hartshorne (uncle) Mrs S.Peach and Mrs E.Holmes (aunts), Capt C.P.Smith (cousin, Bristol), Mr Hird and Dr Hansen Bay (Wirksworth). Members of the Baptist Church, of which deceased was a member, also attended. The bearers were for of the lieutenants old comrades, Messrs. Harold England, Norman Smith, J.Jarvis and J.Needham.
In addition to a large number of floral tributes from the family and local friends, wreaths were sent by the demobilised officers of Bath School of Commerce, Headmaster and pupils of Wirksworth Grammar School, teachers of CRICH Council School, members of the Baptist Church Sunday School and congregation, messrs Bemrose and Sons, Derby, C.P.Gaywood, late Queen's Regiment, Capt C.P.Smith, Bristol and Count Denis De Karannah late R.N.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Initials V
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Lieutenant
Regiment/Service Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit 16th Bn
Date of Death 09/10/1919
Awards Military Cross
Service No 219786
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference South of West end of Church

War Grave certificate for Vernon Bowmer

He is interred in the family grave which is on the left up the path to church. He lies with his wife beneath the right hand stone which bears the regimental crest. His family, who lived near the cross, lie beside him and his older ancestors rest in front of the church door.

Photo courtesy Simon Johnson

headstone of Vernon Bowmer WW1

Vernon's brothers Arthur Bowmer, Ernest Bowmer and Alfred Bowmer are also on the Roll of Honour.


1901: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
John Bowmer Head 38 General stone getter Crich
Mary Ann   wife 38   Crich
Alfred   son 15 Joiners apprentice Crich
Arthur   son 13   Crich
Ernest   son 11   Crich
John James   son 7   Crich
Vernon   son 5   Crich

RG13 piece 3231 folio 31 page 8

1911: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
John Bowmer Head 47 Contractor in coal mine Crich
Mary Ann   wife 47   Crich
Alfred   son 25 Carpenter Crich
John James   son 17 School Crich
Vernon   son 15 School Crich

RG14PN20985 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED14 SN131

1918 Crich Voters List
Vernon Bowmer, Crich– absent on military service.