Sunday, 15 March 2015

Four Arlesey Brothers at War

Church End, Arlesey c.1915

Monday 15th March 1915: All four of the sons of William and Rose Bowskill [1] of Church End, Arlesey, are serving in the Forces. The Bowskills have received letters from each of the brothers, all of whom are currently in different countries. The eldest, William, is at Port Said in Egypt where he says “It is very hot in the desert. We get plenty of fruit, and cheap, but still I wish it was all over, so we could get back again. We don’t know any news what is going on at all … We cannot write much and letters don’t leave very often. I have only had one letter and two papers since I have been out here. Have you heard from Jim or Alf yet? Let me know how they are getting on. … Tell Peter we are in the Promised Land, but shall be glad to get out of it. We have had new potatoes. There are plenty of them in the market, also green peas, carrots, broad beans, and all sorts, so they are about six months before you at home.”

The second brother, James is in France with the 2nd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. He thanks his parents for the parcel he has received from them and tells them “we are having a few days rest. We are in a fine billet. It was a college for girls in peace time, but it has been damaged a good deal by the German shells, and bombs from aeroplanes. I am glad you have heard from Alf, and to know he was getting on all right. I don’t supposed he has a very nice time. … I am sorry to say there is not many out of 12 hundred that came out with our Battalion in August. There is only about 150 left, so you can see I am one of the lucky ones, up to now.”

Alfred Bowskill of the Bedfordshire Regiment is now a prisoner of war in Germany, from where he writes: “I am getting on as well as can be expected; also P. Papworth. I am glad to know all the boys are getting on all right. I have not heard from Jack yet. I expect he has not got time to write. I also received the parcel you sent me, and it was all right. We are beginning to have some better weather now. I shall be pleased when this is all over. Your loving son, Alfred. PS. If you could send a shilling or two it will  be all right, as you can get things here with a little money.”

The Bowskills’ youngest son John (known as Jack) has not yet left England and is at Bury St. Edmunds with the 5th Bedfords. He says “don’t you trouble about me, for if they go to the front I am going, and I hope we shall all come back safe. I think I shall be home again, perhaps for four days, before we go”.

Source: Bedfordshire Times 19th March 1915

[1] Also known as William and Rose Bowskill Dear [1891 and 1901 Censuses]

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