I thought that I would share with you all a group that still enthralls me daily. It provides me with a never ending research project.
195 Pte Bertram Egerton Bowker Somerset East Town Guard and 6th Dismounted Rifles
B.E. Bowker was the Great Grandson of Miles Bowker an original 1820 settler to the Eastern Cape. The copy of ths Somerset East TG QSA Roll page confirms the no clasp QSA and his service card from Pretoria confirms his WW1 Trio as 64 Pte 6th Dismounted Rifles (Middelandse Skutters) for service in GSWA.
The Bowker family is a very prominent family in the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.They were and still are involved mainly with farming and in the Albany Museum there is a 43 page diary with photo's all pertaining to the family.
Bertram Egerton Bowker was born at Craigie Burn in August 1886 and was one of 9 children.He was the son of Emily Atherstone Bowker(1855-1937) and Robert Hart Bowker(1853-1936). He joined the Somerset East TG at the age of 16 yrs in 1901 and must be one of the youngest recipients of the QSA
The following is an extract from the book" THE BOWKERS OF THARFIELD"
"All the sons are living at Craigie Burn. Bertram spent many years on the diamond diggings on the Vaal River with varying luck, but eventually gave up and returned home.In his youth he took up Sandow's sysytem of physical development and was for many years the strongest man in South Africa".
Bertram died on the 1st July 1961 at the age of 74 Years and 11 months.He was unmarried at the time of his death and a retired farmer. His estate was valued at 2564.94 Pounds and bequeathed in equal shares to his surviving Brothers and Sisters.
There were two other Bertram Egerton Bowkers in the family. The first was the son of The original settler "Miles Bowker" and was born in 1810 and died in 1907. He raised the volunteer regiment "Bowkers Rovers" for service during the Frontier War of 1877-1878(Galaka War) and was the Commandant. The other died in childhood
Copy of Bowker's Attestation Paper courtesy of Kevin Asplin
Part time researcher of the Cape Police and C.P.G Regiment.
Thats a very interesting group, I like QSA's to town guards, you really don't know what you are getting, more often than not, far more than a no bar QSA.
The photo of the attestion paper shows the actual original, hand written by him does it not?
A great group with a great story. Thank you for sharing it. If I wasn't so keen on Natal and its military history, I would definitely focus on the Eastern Cape.
Looking through archive records I have often been struck by how many people never married. Is that my imagination or did people in the 19th Century, especially in rural areas, experience difficulties finding partners?
Adrian, a wonderful group this ! I've been very much a Natal man. However, I had one great grandfather that saw service in the Eastern Cape and I've been going into it and boy has it sucked me in. I've not ventured beyond the ABW out of fear I'll be washed away with it.