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.