Biddulph & District Genealogy & Historical Society Biddulph Grange

Biddulph and the Great War

'There Shall Be In That Rich Earth A Richer Dust Concealed'

'We Will Remember Them'

Private Roy Bowcock

Died October 14th 1920 Age 22

Information about Roy has been difficult to find. His birth was registered in the Leek district (which included Brindley Ford at that time) in 1898. Roy appears on the 1901 census as living with his cousin, John Thomas Bowcock, who was aged 26 and lived and worked as a milk seller/farmer at Dales Green Farm, Newchapel. Also there was 55-year-old Elizabeth Bowcock, Thomas’s mother. Although John Thomas was married (he had married Rosina Dutton in 1894), no wife was named on the census. Elizabeth Ann, née Boulton, had married William Bowcock on March 28th 1864 at the Wesleyan Chapel in Tunstall. Both were living at Brindley Ford at the time of the marriage, although William had been born in Leek and Elizabeth in Congleton. William’s father, another William, was a farmer and Elizabeth’s father, Christopher, was a farm labourer.

On the 1911 census Roy was aged 12 and the adopted son of William Bowcock, a grocer living at 33, Victoria Street, Brindley Ford. William and John Thomas were brothers. Their father, William, then 78, was a widower living at 68, High Street, Brindley Ford with three of his sons, Arthur, Edwin, and John Thomas with his wife Rosina. Louisa Jane, William’s wife, had filled in the census form on their behalf.

So, to recap, John Thomas Bowcock, born 1872, and William Bowcock, born 1866, were brothers and the children of William and Elizabeth Ann, née Boulton (married 1864). Roy’s birth was registered in Leek in 1898. In 1901 he is classed as John’s (and therefore William’s) cousin and in 1911 he is classed as being William’s adopted son. So although I can trace members of Roy’s family I have been unable to identify his parents. It is difficult to establish when Roy left school (probably Brindley Ford), what his occupation may have been or when he joined the Army. We know that he was born in November or December 1898 and he probably joined up very shortly after he was 18 at the end of 1916.

British Legion documents suggest that he died in 1917 and that he was a Private in the 1st/2nd battalion North Staffordshire Regiment but there is no documentary evidence to support this. However there is a death recorded on October 14th 1920 at the NSRI for Roy Bowcock, aged 22, of 72, High Street, Brindley Ford. He was described as a farm labourer and being ex-army. He died of an abscess of the liver following appendicitis and pneumonia. The informant was R. Bowcock, described as being his mother. Could this have been Rosina, John Thomas’s wife with whom Roy was living as a ‘cousin’ in 1891?

Roy is commemorated on the Brindley Ford Memorial as having ‘died’.

Elaine Bryan.

A list of all the medals awarded to the men of the Biddulph area has been compiled and can be viewed here.


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