Bert George Bowers
Service Number: 22134
Date of Birth: 1887
Regiment: 7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Date of Death: 3 July 1916
Age at death: 29
Cemetery / Memorial: Thiepval Memorial
Grave / Reference: Panel 1C / 2A
Relatives: Son of William and Sarah Bowers
Address: 99 Benton Street, Hadleigh
Bert was born in Lavenham in 1887. By 1901 his family had moved to 88 Benton Street where Bert lived with his parents William (43) and Sarah (45) and his siblings; Robert (23), Milly (22), Laura (17), Edward (16), Flo (11), John (9) and Ivy (4). By 1911, Bert is boarding with his brother Edward at 99 Benton Street and both were employed as farm labourers.
10 minutes before zero hour the leading waves made their way into no mans land under cover of a bombardment. At zero hour the attack commenced with 8 successive waves. The first 4 waves reached as far as the German third line trenches and some positions in the village itself. But owing to the darkness, the succeeding waves and neighbouring units on the flanks lost touch with each other, allowing the Germans to get in between the waves and to cut off the leading units. The attack came to a standstill at the German third line trench. Two companies of the Essex Regt following up in support were too far behind and were practically annihilated by enemy machine gun fire.
Not sure when he joined, but suspect it was sometime after August 1914. He served with the 7th (Service) Battalion the Suffolk Regt who where formed at Bury St Edmunds in August 1914 as part of K1 and came under command of 35th Brigade in 12th (Eastern) Division. They landed at Boulogne on 30 May 1915, however Bert's Medal Index Card does not show an entitlement to the 1915 Star and so we think he joined the battalion some time in 1916.
The battalion went into battle on 3 July 1916, day 3 of the Battle of the Somme. Their objective was the village of Ovillers. The attack was launched at 3:15hrs on a 200 yard frontage with C & D Coys in the leading wave and A & B in support.
The casualties amongst the 7 Suffolks were 21 Officers and 458 Other Ranks killed, wounded or missing. Bertie was one of the missing. He is commemorated on pier and face 1C & 2A.