No King, No Arrow!
Sapper Harold Bow Manchester Regiment & Royal Engineers
The Man Harold Bow was born on 6th September 1884 in Chorlton, Lancashire, son of George, a Silk Hatter, and Emily nee Skellon. He was one of seven children, Florence born in 1879, Emily 1881, Caroline E 1886, Miriam 1888, Thomas S 1890 and Dorothy 1894. The family lived at 27 Heaviley Grove, Stockport. By the time of the 1901 census and aged 16, Harold was living with his family at 65 Barrack Street in Stretford, and shown as working as a Bakers Shop Assistant and Office Boy at the Post Office. A year later on 25th November 1902 aged 17 he received a Civil Service Commission and after open competition was employed by the Post Office as a Male Learner in Manchester. Ten years later Harold had moved to Blackpool and was lodging at 19 Crystal Road and by now was a Postal Clerk with the General Post Office. In approximately 1907 he enlisted into the Manchester Regiment Territorial Force and during the second quarter of 1912 aged 28 married Hannah Hodkin at Barton upon Irwell in Lancashire. Following the outbreak of World War I Harold transferred to the 11th Battalion Manchester Regiment that had been formed in Ashton Under Lyne in August 1914 as part of the 34th Brigade, with service number 456 and moving in April 1915 to Witley Camp near Godalming in Surrey. Harold was later transferred as part of the same division into the Royal Engineers as a Sapper and with a new service number of 56123. On 30th June 1915 the Division sailed from Liverpool, as part of the Egypt Garrison, going via Mudros to Sulva Bay in Gallipoli, disembarking on 6th August 1915. They were evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915 and moved to Egypt via Imbros and in July 1916 posted to the Western Front in France. Harold survived the war and was transferred to the Z Class Reserve on 17th May 1919 and awarded the 1914-15 Star, 1914-18 British War and Victory Medals. In Army Order 178 of 1919 he was also awarded the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal representing 12 years service in the TF. Harold moved to Enfield in London and was appointed as a Sorting Clerk & Telegraphist with the General Post Office in 1927 and re-appointed at Bromley and Beckenham in 1934. During World War II Harold served in one of the local Civil Defence Organisations or Home Guard and in 1944 retired from the General Post Office aged 60. He was awarded the Imperial Service Medal in the London Gazette of 7th November 1944 and following the War the Defence Medal. Things become a little uncertain after this, but it is possible that Harold re-married to Isabella and lived at ‘Corfield’ Oxenden Road, Farnborough, Kent and on 21st April 1948 they sailed aboard the Soudan, on the P&O Line from London to Melbourne, heading to New Zealand where they emigrated. Harold returned to the UK ten years later on 20th January 1958 aboard the Tasmania Star on the Blue Star Line and sailing from Lyttleton, New Zealand to Hull and visited family in Northern Ireland, intending to remain for one year before returning to New Zealand. No further detail is known about Harold Bow and it is possible he returned to New Zealand and died there.
The Story The medals awarded to Harold Bow were acquired on a visit to London in September 2014 from Stephen Wheeler in Camden Passage. They were of interest because of the two long service awards. The usual research was undertaken on Ancestry.com and the London Gazette allowing a basic biography to be compiled. It seems that Harold may have emigrated to New Zealand in about 1948 as there are shipping records on Ancestry, but no information can be found about his later life or death. The medals are mounted as they came and were worn by Harold, with the Imperial Service Medal after the Long Service award, this was only amended in the London Gazette of 11th February 1947 to a much more senior position and now would be worn after the Defence Medal and before the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal.
11th Battalion The Manchester Regiment The Battalion was formed at Ashton-under-Lyne in August 1914 as part of K1. In September 1914, just before the Ottoman Empire entered the war on Germany's side, six of the regiment's battalions joined the Egypt garrison. They belonged to the territorial East Lancashire Division (later numbered the 42nd), which was selected to release regular troops for service in active theatres. In May 1915, the division landed at Cape Helles, Gallipoli to reinforce the British beachheads established during the initial landings in April. The Manchesters disembarked at "V" and "W", where, in the April landings, there had been at least 2,000 casualties. The Manchester battalions took part in the Third Battle of Krithia on 4 June. The 127th (Manchester) Brigade reached their first objective and advanced a further 1,000 yards, capturing 217 Ottomans in the process. A few hours later, the brigade withdrew when an Ottoman counter-attack threatened its flanks. Further fighting took place at the positions the British had withdrawn to and were soon repulsed after many days fighting. During the Battle of Krithia Vineyard, the Manchesters suffered heavy losses and gained a Victoria Cross for gallantry by Lieutenant Forshaw of the 1/9th Battalion. The evacuation of Cape Helles lasted from December 1915 to January 1916. The Manchester battalions suffered many casualties during the Dardnalles Campaign. At the Helles Memorial, 1,215 names of the Manchesters fill the memorial alone. In the Mesopotamian Campaign, the 1st Manchesters took part in the Battle of Dujaila in March 1916, which was intended to relieve the British forces in Kut-al-Amara, which was being besieged by Ottoman forces. In the battle, the 1st Manchesters seized the trenches of the Dujaila Redoubt with the 59th Scinde Rifles (Frontier Force); however, they were subsequently displaced by an Ottoman counter-attack, being forced back to their starting lines. During the withdrawal, Private Stringer held his ground single-handedly, securing the flank of his battalion. He was awarded the Victoria Cross. British and Indian forces suffered 4,000 casualties. After five failed attempts to relieve the town, Kut surrendered to Ottoman forces on 29 April 1916. The 1st Manchesters would take part in further actions in Mesopotamia, but in April 1918 the regiment moved to Egypt. The battalion then moved to Ottoman-controlled Palestine, still part of the 3rd (Lahore) Division, to take part in the campaign there against the Ottomans. They fought in the last major offensive there, at Megiddo, on 19 September. Within three hours the Turkish lines, held by the Turkish Eighth Army, had been broken. Open warfare defined the theatre. During the Megiddo offensive, the cavalry advanced more than 70 miles in 36 hours. The 1st Manchesters took part in further engagements until the Armistice with the Ottoman Empire, remaining in the area until 1919.
- 1914-15 Star: 56123, SPR.H.BOW, R.E.
- 1914-18 British War Medal: 56123 SPR.H.BOW. R.E.
- Victory Medal: 56123 SPR.H.BOW. R.E.
- Defence Medal: Unnamed as issued.
- Territorial Force Efficiency Medal: 516123 SPR.H.BOW. R.E.
- Imperial Service Medal: HAROLD BOW
This page last updated 29 Sep 14