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Bowles, Ernest Gibson (Billy)

I found Ernest Gibson Bowles by adding “Shotton” in the “Additional Information” on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website on the eve of Remembrance Day 2020.

Ernest Gibson Bowles was born on the 10th May 1916 and Baptised at St. Michael in the Hamlet Church, Toxteth,  on the 2nd July 1916, the son of Ernest Charles and Lily White Bowles (nee Hunter) who had married at St. Silas Church, Toxteth, coincidentally, on the 10th May 1906.

Ernest Charles and Lily White Bowles are seen on the 1911 census living at 92, Sandhurst Street, Liverpool, Lancashire.    Ernest Charles, 30 is a Commercial Traveller (Wine & Spirit) he tells us that they had been married for 5 years, and had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire as had Lily White Bowles , 26, and she tells us that 1 child had been born and was still living, the child mentioned was Margery May Bowles age 4.

Margery May had been baptised in St. Michael in the Hamlet Church, Toxteth : -Page 73 No. 582 6th January 1907 Margery May d/o Ernest Charles & Lily White BOWLES, 92, Sandhurst St., Commercial Traveller.

She was the only child as far as I can see till Ernest Gibson Bowles was born in 1916.   Sadly I have no information on his early or teen years but he must have met Edith Hampton and married her in the Hawarden registration District in the March quarter of 1939.

Ernest G. Bowles in seen on the 1939 National Register which was taken on the 29th September 1939.    Ernest is seen living that night at 14 Oak Grove, Flint, Flint M.B., Flintshire with a number of other people.  This source gives us the date of birth of Ernest Charles on the 10th May 1916, he was married and also a Public Service Vehicle Mini Bus Conductor.

Ernest  Gibson Bowles (Billy) is remembered on the Crosville WW2 Roll of Honour, see http://www.carlscam.com/  (Information from Ken Golding)

On the 1939 National Register on the same night, Edith Bowles is seen at the Catherine Gladstone Maternity Home in Mancot Royal, near Queensferry and is among other ladies, a couple have had babies and there are the staff as well.   I believe that Edith was there to have her baby, Maureen, who was born in the December quarter of 1939 (Hawarden Vol. 11b Page 741).   If Baby Maureen had been born that night or the day after, her birth would have been too late for the September quarter and therefore would have been registered in the December quarter 1939.

So at the time, it looks as though Ernest Gibson & Edith Bowles were living in Flint in 1939.   This also means that Ernest was not in the forces on that date.   I do not know when he enlisted or was conscripted into the Marines.    Any information would be gratefully received.

The 1939 National Register also tells us that Ernest’s parents Ernest Charles and Lily were living in Chester at the “Bull & Stirrup” Hotel, Upper Northgate Street.   Again this source gives us the dates of birth of Ernest Charles, who was born on the 12th July 1880 and was a Hotel Manager, his wife Lily White Bowles was born on the 9th Jun 1884 and as many married women were described on this register who did not have a job was doing “Unpaid Domestic Duties.”   Also with them was a Kathleen Bowles born on the 3rd April 1920 and was a Hotel Dispenser and was single.    So it seems that Ernest Gibson had another sister!    Her birth was registered  in Toxteth Park(Vol. 8b Page 463).

However Ernest was to find himself in the Marines and involved with “Operation Agreement” on the 13th and the 14th September 1942 when he sadly lost his life:-

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Agreement –  From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Please read –2  Excerpt’s taken from the above:-

Operation Agreement – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Operation Agreement was a ground and amphibious operation carried out by British, Rhodesian and New Zealand forces on Axis-held Tobruk from 13 to 14 September 1942, during the Second World War. A Special Interrogation Group party, fluent in German, took part in missions behind enemy lines. Diversionary actions extended to Benghazi (Operation Bigamy), Jalo oasis (Operation Nicety) and Barce (Operation Caravan).[4][a] The Tobruk raid was an Allied disaster; the British lost several hundred men killed and captured, one cruiser, two destroyers, six motor torpedo boats and dozens of small amphibious craft.

And:-

The Royal Marines suffered 81 killed and the Navy suffered the loss of another 217 men in the ship sinkings; about 576 survivors were captured.[24] Axis losses were 15 Italians and one German killed, 43 Italians and seven Germans wounded. 

Also on this website:-

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/11th-battalion-royal-marines.43073/

This forum has helped me many times, helping to tell the stories of our local lads. – Mavis

I believe that Ernest was probably one of the ones who were on the ships as he has not got a grave and his name is on the Plymouth Memorial for those whose bodies were never found.

He would have been sadly missed by his wife and daughter, also his parents and siblings and he must be remembered for his sacrifice.

I also believe that his widow Edith Bowles remarried in the March quarter of 1944 in the Hawarden Registration District (Hawarden         Vol. 11b Page 398) to Ronald Griffiths.

Ernest Gibson’s father Ernest Charles died on the 28th November 1948 and his mother Lily White died on the 26th December 1965.

Their Probates:-

BOWLES, Ernest Charles of 2, Percy-road, Handbridge, Chester died 28th November 1948 at The City Hospital, Chester.    Probate, Chester 7th February to Lily White Bowles widow.

BOWLES, Lily White of 37, Mansfield Road, Whitby, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire died 26th December 1965 at Clatterbridge General Hospital, Bebington, Wirral, Cheshire.   Probate Chester 25th February to Midland Bank Executor and Trustee Company Limited.

Addendum. I saw, on Ancestry, the Family Tree of Ken Golding and he kindly sent me some information re his Uncle Billy (Ernest Gibson Bowles) 31/12/2020:-

Hello Mavis,

I will try and give you as much verbal information that I can recall about my Uncle Billy and I have a few photographs of him in his Royal Marine uniform whilst he was out in Tobruk.  He has written on the back of a couple of them and was very affectionate with his parents (my grandparents) saying how much he missed them and that he hoped to be home soon, which unfortunately didn’t happen.

To my knowledge Billy was employed in the Connah’s Quay, Shotton area by Crosville buses and I believe there was a brass plaque with his name on it, erected by Crosville.

I think Billy was on HMS Tiger in the RM contingent in the raid on Tobruk. They were using FOLBOTS which were collapsible canoes, very badly made and the weather was quite rough and several of the canoes were damaged immediately costing some of the Marines their lives. Tobruk was heavily defended and any of the raiding party that managed to get ashore were subjected to heavy enemy fire.

It is somewhere in this raid that I presume Billy was unfortunately killed.

Kind regards

Ken & Jan Golding. (Many thanks to them)

Many thanks to Ken & Jan Golding for the photographs below showing Billy in Palestine.

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