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Updated 01/04/2019


Major Bowen
Pipe Major R. Batt

Major Cecil Leander John Bowen was born on June 11, 1895 in what was then Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

He was commissioned in September 1914 in the East Surrey Regiment; served with them in France from July, 1915, to September, 1917, and thereafter as G.S.O.3 of the 59th Division, and later G.S.O.3 with the III Corps.  He was wounded once. After the Armistice, he was seconded for three years to take a scholarship course at Oxford, obtaining his degree, and then transferred to the First Battalion of the Irish Guards in 1922.

In 1928, he married Miss Maisie Pedley, daughter of Major Oswald Henry Pedley – they had two sons.

Major Bowen was killed during the bombing of the ship, MS Chrobry, in the Vestfjorden, Norway, in 1940. MS Chrobry was an ocean-going passenger ship. The ship was in the middle of its maiden passenger voyage to South America when World War II broke out. During the war the ship was rebuilt in Britain to become a troop transport. As a transatlantic liner she made only one transatlantic voyage, never coming back to her home port of Gdynia. On May 14, 1940 she sailed from Tjeldsundet transporting British troops to Bodø. Just before midnight German dive bombers attacked the ship three times in the middle of the Vestfjorden, setting the ship on fire, exploding ammunition, and killing several army officers and men.

Color Sgt. R.J. Batt, was Pipe Major of the First Battalion Irish Guards from 1939–40.