Page 1
Page 2
Page 3
Page 4
Page 5
Page 6
Page 7
Page 8
Page 9
Page 10
Page 11
Page 12
Page 13
Page 14
Page 15
Page 16
Page 17
Page 18
Page 19
Page 20
Page 21
Page 22
Page 23
Page 24
Page 25
Page 26
Page 27
Page 28
Page 29
Page 30
Page 31
Page 32
Page 33
Page 34
Page 35
Page 36
Page 37
Page 38
Page 39
Page 40
Page 41
Page 42
Page 43
Page 44
Page 45
Page 46
Page 47
Page 48
Page 49
Page 50
Page 51
Page 52
Page 53
Page 54
Page 55
Page 56
Page 57
Page 58
Page 59
Page 60
Page 61
Page 62
Page 63
Page 64
Page 65
Page 66
Page 67
Page 68
Page 69
Page 70
Page 71
Page 72
Page 73
Page 74
Page 75
Page 76
Page 77
Page 78
Page 79
Page 80
Page 81
Page 82
Page 83
Page 84
Follow us on twitter OVLMagazine Find us on Facebook OVL Magazine 61 Back in Oakley Verdie received a notification dated 4 November 1944 which read It is my painful duty to inform you that a report has been received from the War Office notifying the death of 1087954 Sgt Norman William Bowden Royal Artillery in NW Europe on 28 October 1944. This was confirmed by a certified Notification of Death dated 15 November 1944 from The War Office. A short time afterwards a communication from Buckingham Palace fell onto the doormat The Queen and I offer you our heartfelt sympathy in your great sorrow. We pray that your countrys gratitude for a life so nobly given in its service may bring you some consolation. George R I At the end of the war Norman also received Campaign medals which were the 1939-1945 Star the France and Germany Star The Defence Medal 1939-1945 and the War Medal 1939-1945. All of these medals and Normans Military Medal so bravely won now take pride of place on the wall of his son Howards home. Howard was about four years old when his father left home to join the Army and he has no recollection of that day. In fact his only actual memory of his father was an occasion when he was home on leave at the same time as his brother-in-law Victor. The two of them went for a drink to the Bedford Arms Oakley on their bicycles. On their return they collapsed onto the garden. You cant go back to the barracks smelling of drink scolded his mother-in-law and she quickly found an onion and shoved it forcibly into their mouths. Howard was nine years old when his father was killed but he cannot remember being told of his death. He does know however that he was standing in the corner at school a common punishment at the time for minor misbehaviour when word got to the teacher that his father had been killed. He was taken from the corner and sent home but he did not know why. However Howard was old enough to remember very clearly 5 November 1945. This was the day he and his mother accompanied by an uncle travelled on the train from Oakley Station to London St. Pancras and made their way to Buckingham Palace. They were ushered into a waiting room where they were told what to do in the presence of the King including the importance of taking two steps backwards before turning to walk away. Howard also remembers the moment King George VI pinned the Military Medal on his mothers coat before shaking his hand. It was dark when they left the Palace and on the train home they watched fireworks shooting up through the darkness and lighting up the sky. Recently Howard and his wife visited the grave of the father he didnt have the privilege to grow up with. He took with him a small wreath made especially by the British Legion. He attached to it a poem that he felt moved to pen just before they left home for the Geel British War Cemetery 25 miles from Antwerp in Belgium. I was only a very young lad When you were taken My Dad But all these years have passed us by And I never forgot the reason why God Bless You My Dad I am now a very grown up Lad Howard x