No. 12601, 8th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles
Killed in action on Sunday 2 July 1916 (aged 20)
No known grave
Thiepval Memorial, France (Pier and Face 15 A and 15 B)
Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour
James Bowman was born on 2 August 1895 in Mill Street, Newtownards and he was a son of John and Margaret (Maggie) Bowman (nee McKibbin, sometimes McKibben) who were married on 25 January 1893 in First Newtownards Presbyterian Church. John Bowman from Newtownards was a son of James Bowman, a weaver. Margaret McKibbin (aged 20) from Newtownards was a daughter of George McKibbin, a weaver.
The Bowman family lived in Bethany Street, Belfast after moving there from Ballyhackamore and, before that, Mill Street, Newtownards.
John Bowman worked as a house painter and he and Maggie had at least twelve children:
James (born 2 August 1895 in Mill Street, Newtownards)
George (born 28 June 1896 in Mill Street, Newtownards)
John (born 1 March 1898 in Ballyhackamore)
Edward McKibbin (born 7 May 1899 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast; died of pneumonia 16 March 1901)
Mary (born 12 May 1902 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
Edward (born 1 March 1904 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
Elizabeth McKibbin (born 18 October 1905 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
William (born 30 November 1907 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
Margaret (born 31 May 1909 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
Robert McKibbin (born 4 February 1911 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
Samuel (born 22 November 1912 at 5 Bethany Street, Belfast)
Dorothy (born 9 April 1914 at 30 Sandown Road, Belfast)
Their mother, Margaret Bowman, died of tuberculosis at 30 Sandown Road on 2 July 1915 (aged 42).
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War James Bowman worked as an apprentice house painter.
When James Bowman enlisted he joined the East Belfast Volunteers and served as a Rifleman and Signaller with the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles in 107th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division.
In the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) Debt of Honour Website it is recorded that he died on 2 July 1916. In the heat of battle, the 8th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles did not make a casualty return on 1 July 1916 and many military historians agree that those 8th Battalion casualties listed on the 2 July return were killed in action on 1 July.
At that time his widowed father, John Bowman, lived at 30 Sandown Road, Ballyhackamore, Belfast and his uncle and aunt, E. and M. McKibben lived at 20 North Street, Newtownards.
Collectively they placed a For King and Country notice in the 22 July 1916 edition of the Newtownards Chronicle.
Rifleman James Bowman (No. 12601) was 20 when he died, and he has no known grave.
Rifleman James Bowman (No. 12601) is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France and in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour.