Bowly, Horace Edward


Horace Edward Bowly was born on 9th February 1913, the only son of Colonel William Arthur Travell Bowley, CBE., CVO  (F 1894-1897) of South Cerney, Gloucestershire and went into his father’s old House.  His mother was Florence Winifred Bowly, daughter of Major Loftus Lewis Astley-Cooper. He was a House Prefect and in the Bisley team of 1931.

From Winchester he went to Sandhurst and then gained a commission in the Royal Warwickshires, his father’s regiment, in 1933.   By 1939 he was a Captain and Adjutant; by 1942 he was a Brigade Major and and went on to serve as a GSO2 with the Ninth Army in the Mediterranean in 1942-1943.

He went all the way through the Sicily campaign, at first attached to 5th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, and then with 7th Battalion The Green Howards.  He came back to England with the 50th Division ready for the assault on north-west Europe, where his battalion was in the assault brigade of 50th Division on D-Day.  6th and 7th Green Howards landed in the King sector of Gold Beach at 0815 on 6th June, only four hundred yards from their planned landing site. The Battalion war diary records Bowly’s role:  “A mobile column under Major Bowly, a squadron of tanks, a section of carriers and ‘B’ Company moved off and reached the bridge and knocked out an enemy staff car, killing the officer.”    7th Green Howards had advanced so successfully that they had been pulled back for their own safety. The following morning the battalion attacked a wireless station west of the road between Coulombs and Loucelles, which netted over fifty prisoners.   They resumed their advance on June 11th and a couple of days later, under heavy machine gun fire, halted near Brouay.   On June 13th they were pulled out of the line for a short rest.

He was killed on 16th June right in the forefront of the battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles, when his company was  held by stiff opposition.  The Regimental History of the Green Howards recalls that it was near Les Orielles that the 7th Battalion began to advance in a south easterly direction when they met fierce opposition with a German 88mm gun pointing directly down the street preventing any vehicle movement.  It was during this action that Major Bowly was killed.

His Commanding Officer wrote of him as his best Company Commander, saying “During the tensest moments I never saw him anything but his calm, patient and kindly self.  He was a good man indeed and loved by everybody”.

On June 1st 1940 he married Diana June Primrose Parkes, daughter of Major Harold Parkes.

He lies in grave X.A.2 of the Bayeux War Cemetery.

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Bowly
  • Forenames or initials: Horace Edward
  • House: F
  • Years in School: 1926-1931
  • Rank: Major
  • Regiment: Green Howards
  • Date of Birth: 9th February 1913
  • Date of Death: 16th June 1944
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner F1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Bayeux War Cemetery: Grave X.A.2