Bowes, W H (1858–1932) Brigadier-General
GOC Infantry Brigade CB CMG
RMC Sandhurst Royal Scots Fusiliers


royal scots fusiliersWilliam Hely Bowes was commissioned in the Royal Scots Fusiliers [then the 21st Foot] on 13 August 1879. He saw active service in Burma (1885–7) and on the North West Frontier (1897–8). He was DAAG India (October 1899–December 1903), CO 2nd Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers (August 1906–August 1910) and DAAG War Office (January 1911–August 1914).

He spent the first three months of the Great War as Senior GSO1 Directorate of Staff Duties at the War Office (August–October 1914) but, on 23 October 1914, he took command of 8th Brigade, 3rd Division, in France after Brigadier-General B J C Doran had been sent home. Within a month Bowes found himself under the command of his old and close friend, Aylmer Haldane. This did not do him any favours. Haldane was a hard and unsentimental commander. By the spring of 1915 he believed that Bowes was both physically and mentally exhausted, and incapable of providing energetic leadership. Haldane had Bowes replaced on 25 March.

Bowes was 56. He never held a field command again. He was BGGS 3rd Army, Central Force (UK) (May 1915–March 1916), BGGS Northern Army, Home Forces (March 1916–February 1918) and Chief of Military Mission (June 1918–June 1919). He retired from the army on 28 August 1919.

Dr John Bourne


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