WW1 Frederick Thomas Arthur Bowell (Service number 3/1239)

Frederick Thomas Arthur Bowell

Frederick Bowell was born on 7 September 1888 and was the son of Arthur Henry and Jean Abernathy Bowell, of 60, Brighton Rd. (Bassett Rd), Parnell, Auckland. He was one of four children, Muriel Leader Bowell, Horace Laurenson Bowell and Edna Jean (Bowell) Strong.

Frederick attended Remuera Primary School, Auckland Grammar School and Auckland University College (now the University of Auckland). He was a chemist assistant at Sharland and Company, a wholesale and manufacturing chemist in Lorne Street, Auckland. [1] He enlisted on 3 September 1915, he was 5ft 8inches, of fair complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His enlistment sheet noted that his heart was ‘not normal’ but that he was fit for duty in Trentham as a medical orderly.

Nevertheless, he embarked from Wellington on the transport ship Aparima on 9 October 1915 and arrived in Suez, Egypt on 18 November 1915 as a Private with the New Zealand Medical Corps, 7th Reinforcements. On 27 March 1916, he left Suez on for France as a member of the No 1 Field Ambulance Corps. Whilst in France, on 21 July 1916, he reported sick with chest pains, was transferred to No. 2 Australian Casualty Clearing Station, then to the No. 8 Stationary Hospital at Wimereux , a coastal town situated some 5 kilometres (3 mi) north of Boulogne. On 10 August 1916, he was put on the Hospital Ship Cambria to England and admitted to the 2nd London General Hospital at Chelsea and finally to the New Zealand No. 2 General Hospital at Walton-on-Thames near London on 16 August 1916. [2]

Frederick Thomas Arthur Bowell

He was diagnosed as ‘dangerously ill’ and on 13 January 1917, he embarked on the hospital ship HMHS Marama for New Zealand to be officially discharged in New Zealand as permanently unfit. [3]The Union Steam Ship Company vessel, SS ‘Marama’ was refitted out as a hospital ship during World War I. The transformation was completed in a record twenty-three days, as hundreds of workmen had been employed 24/7. The SS Marama was superbly equipped which was very much due to the many public donations of both money, equipment and other materials. On board, there were 600 hospital beds and a medical staff strength of 12 Medical Officers, 24 Nurses and 62 Others.[4]

Frederick Thomas Arthur Bowell died of septic endocarditis, a valvular heart disease, and was buried at sea on 13 February 1917. He was 29years old. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, Egyptian medal 1915-1916 and Egyptian Expeditionary Force medal 1916. Frederick Thomas Arthur Bowell (Service number 3/1239) is remembered on the following memorials:

  • Auckland Provincial Memorial, Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Remuera Primary School World War One Gates 1914-1918, 25 Dromorne Road, Remuera Auckland 1050