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Mission: Defensive patrol off Le Havre, France.

Date: 28
th July 1942

Unit: No.129 (Mysore) Squadron R.A.F.

Type: Supermarine Spitfire VB

Serial No. BL596

Coded: DV-

Location: In Sea off the French Coast.

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Henry Cyril Francis Bowman.111776 D.F.C. R.A.F.V.R. Age 26 – Killed.


Bowman now a Flight Lieutenant was flying Spitfire VB serial BL596 on a late afternoon sweep when he intercepted low level raiders off Le Havre when he came into contact with Focke Wulf Fw 190's of JG2 “Richthofen”. Seen to shoot down a Focke Wulf Fw 190 of Jagdgeschwader 2, but shortly afterwards he was shot down and killed.  His body was washed ashore at Ford, Sussex about 25th August 1942 and he was buried at Burwash on 29th August.

His records state that he shot down 5 aircraft and damaged 2 others. 8th Aug 41 destroyed Bf 110 65miles off Flamborough Head 4th Sep 41 damaged Bf 109 10 miles west Cap Gris Nez 20th Sep 41 destroyed Bf 109 off St Valery 12th Feb 42 damaged Bf 109 off Belgian coast 12th Apr 42 destroyed FW 190 over St Omer 20th Jun 42 destroyed FW 190 35 south Beachy Head 28th Jun 42 destroyed FW 190 south of Selsey Bill

His D.F.C. was announced in the London Gazette of 29th May 1942 Citation for Acting Flight Lieutenant H.C.F. Bowman

'This officer completed a large number of operational sorties many of which have been over enemy territory. He is an exceptional pilot and a cool and skilful leader. He has destroyed 3 enemy aircraft and damaged a fourth.

Sgt Bowman No.129 Sqdn
Fl/Lt Bowman with Spitfire (courtesy I.W.M.)

Burial detail:

Fl/Lt. Henry Cyril Francis Bowman D.F.C. Burwash (St. Joseph) Roman Catholic Churchyard. Grave 32. Son of Rfn. Henry Frederick Bowman, the King's Royal Rifle Corps (killed in action in France, 23rd April, 1917), and of Thyrza Elizabeth Bowman, of Ilford, Essex, husband of Myra Bowman (nee Jackson). Member of Hertfordshire and Essex Flying Club.

We are now in contact with his granddaughter, Jane Bowman and are pleased that we are able to provide her with this photograph and information. Further information: Born in London 21st. August 1915. Worked for Ilford Borough Council Engineer's Department. He gained his 'A' licence as a pilot in 1937. Joining the R.A.F.V.R. in September 1939 but did not complete his flying training until after the Battle of France and the Battle of Britain. Joined No.129 Squadron on its formation in June 1941. Claiming his first victory on 8th August 1941, commissioned in November 1941, becoming a flight commander shortly afterwards.

Researched and compiled by Melvin Brownless. With thanks to Graham Pitchfork and Jane Bowman. Updated from our archive site March 2014.
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