[Much of the following information was researched and kindly made
available by Mr. Brian Excell ]
William Bowden was born in
Belfast, Ireland in 1830.
On 11 January, 1848, at the age of 18 years and 4 months, Bowden
enlisted in the Royal Artillery at Lisburn (near Newtownards, Co. Down,
Ireland). His enlistment number was 2594. He was assigned to 2nd
Battalion, No. 7 Company. At the time of enlistment a labourer.
other ranks' full dress tunic, Pattern 1855. Dark blue cloth
with scarlet collar. Edged down the front opening and around
the bottom of the skirt with scarlet cloth. Collar edging
and Austrian knots on cuffs of yellow wool artillery cord.
Waist belt, frog and button are of an earlier period. The
single gun button replaced the three-gun pattern ca. 1873.
other ranks' full dress tunic, rear, Pattern 1855. Note two
buttons at rear of skirt. Skirt closed at rear with a plait
at each side, edged with scarlet cloth. Black leather
20-round ammunition pouch and white leather pouch belt.
above comes from the New Brunswick Museum collection.
Bowden was posted to Devonport. His
Company commander was Capt A. A. Shuttleworth.
Bowden served as a Gunner from 12 January,
1848 to the 7th of May, 1857 (9 years 116 days)
Bowden was absent 6 May, 1851 to 9th May,
1851 (4 days) and for his absence was imprisoned from the 10 May, 1851 to
8 June, 1851 (30 days ).
Receiving permission from his Commanding
Officer, Bowden was married on 12 July, 1852 to Amelia (surname still
In 1853, Bowden serves abroad in the
British Fortress of Halifax in the Canadas from 11 October, 1853 to 23
Halifax was in the same district as
Bermuda (according to how the British Army saw things) and Bowden was next
posted off to Bermuda from 24 Dec, 1853 to 17 March, 1857. While in
Bermuda, Bowden still served with No. 7 Company. Bowden's company
commander was Capt. Nixon.
In the R.A., pay under 5 years service was
per day 1Shilling 3 1/4 pence -- or one pound 18 shillings and 1 1/2d per
Bowden was promoted to Bombadier 8th May
to 30th Sept, 1857 (146 days)---total 9 years 262 days.
Bowden served as Bombardier from 1 October to 13
Feb 1858 and from 14 Feb, 1858 to 31 July, 1858 having received "good
conduct" pay at 2d on 14 Feb, 1858.
Bowden was then promoted to Corporal 1
Bowden volunteers to serve in the Columbia
He and his wife sail with a detachment of
Royal Engineers on the Euphrates from London Docks on the 3rd
of January, 1859, and arrived at Victoria on the 27th June, 1859.
It appears that Bowden may have been
stationed in the Camp, as opposed to being in the field. He would have
been working under Captain Luard, most likely, as Captain Parsons the
other officer in Camp, would have surrounded himself with Trades which
focused on the Survey Office.
1861- Attached as Orderly to
Governor James Douglas.
8th July, 1861
I have the honor to inform you that subsequent to
my inspecting in company with Corporal Bowden the roads beyond Douglas
Street in course of construction, Mr. Hodgkinson represented to me
that he had done a considerable amount of work on the 3 miles
contracted for by him making as he considered the nature of the work
agree with the terms of the Specifications and pressed that
[remainder of letter missing]
1867- Obtained rank of Sgt. in
the Victoria City Police Department.
b. Kingston, Devonshire, England
d. Victoria, Canada July 27, 1870
Colonist, July 28, 1870
this city, July 27th, Amelia, wife of William Bowden,
aged 40 years, a native of Kingston, Devonshire.
Friends and acquaintances are respectively invited to
attend the funeral from the residence of deceased husband, View
St., at 41/2 o’clock, Thursday afternoon, July 28.
Colonist, July 29, 1870
funeral for the late Mrs. Bowden, wife of Inspector Of Police,
took place yesterday and was very numerously attended, the
members of both lodges of IOOF turning out in strong force.
The remains were taken into St. Andrew’s Church where
the Rev. McGregor improved the sad occasion, after which the
procession reformed and proceeded to the cemetery.
1870- rank of Inspector of City
Police, Victoria. Married Kate Longfellow 16 December 1870 in
According to Mr. Excell:
|My mother told me
that her grandmother, Emily Louisa Bowden (William's 3rd child), did
not like her as a stepmother. After William's death my g grandmother
Emily went to live with her older sister Eliza Amelia and her new
husband, J. McBride Smith (according to the 1881 census).
--2004, Letter from Brian Excell
According to Woodward, Bowden received Crown Grant,
November 30, 1870, for Lot 55, Group 2, New Westminster District,
1873 - 1877 Superintendent of
According to Mr. Excell, Bowden
re-marries after the death of his first wife, Amelia, to a M. N. Wiggs. The marriage took place on the 28th of Sept. 1875 in Portland Oregon.
1876- Obtained rank of
Superintendent Of Provincial Police.
married Magistrate George Jay
Died, July 26, 1879, Victoria,
Canada, at the age of 49.
Daily Colonist, Tuesday Morning - July 29, 1879
b. Belfast, Ireland 1830
d July 26, 1879, Victoria, Canada
On Sunday morning, we briefly announced that Mr. Wm Bowden,
ex-Superintendent of Police, expired on Cormorant street at a late
hour on Saturday night from internal hemorrhage. Deceased,
who was born at Belfast, Ireland, in 1830, came to this Province
in 1858 in company with a detachment of Sappers and at that time
belonged to the Royal Artillery. He was subsequently
appointed Orderly to Governor Douglas, a position which he filled
for several years, and in 1867 he joined the police force with the
rank of Sergeant. The ability and assiduity he displayed in
the execution of his duties in this office led to well merited
promotion and in the course of time he was appointed Inspector of
City Police. This position he also filled in a manner alike
creditable to himself and his country and when, on the assumption
of power by the Elliott Government it was deemed prudent on the
grounds of economy, to amalgamate the position
with that of Superintendent Of Provincial Police, Mr. Bowden was
appointed to act in the dual capacity.
held this important position for a considerable period, but almost
immediately after a political revulsion, in which the present
Government gained the ascendancy, he was suspended for alleged
mismanagement of the city gaol and police barracks. A public
investigation was awaited for several weeks and the attention of
the Government was called to the matter in the leading journal of
the Province. No investigation, however, of a public
character was held and after the Government had permitted a cloud
to hang over Mr. Bowden for an unwarrantable period he was removed
from office, and the present incumbent was appointed to his stead.
this time the deceased's health commenced to fail and although,
with a sense of duty towards his family, he subsequently
accepted a subordinate position in the police force it was
apparent that he no longer had the vigorous constitution, fine
physique and determination of action which were characteristic
of him in former days. Having recovered from a severe
illness in February last he enjoyed a brief period of comparative
good health, but on Thursday last had an unexplained relapse.
Friday night at half-past 10 o'clock he lost the power of speech
and after lying in a comatose state for 24 hours passed quietly
away surrounded by his wife and daughters. The funeral of
the deceased took place yesterday under the auspices of the Odd
Fellows, the remains being conveyed to the Presbyterian Church
and thence to Ross Bay Cemetery. The hearse was followed by
a very numerous cortège, comprising members of the I.O.O.F,
members of the Police Force, members of the Pioneer Society and
a large number of friends and acquaintances. The coffin,
which bore a simple inscription giving the name of the deceased,
his age, the time and place of death, was covered with beautiful
flowers sent by Lady Douglas and friends of the deceased.
Following are the names of the pallbearers: Messrs. R. Jeffrey, C.
Gowen, O. Kent, W. McNiff and Police Officers Quain and
Buried in historic Ross Bay
Cemetery, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.