Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1917, Private Edward Bowen, 4th Battalion, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, died while in service at Park Hall, Oswestry.
One of eight children of a county council roadman, he had worked as a wagoneer before enlisting in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers in December of 1916 and being sent to Park Hall for training. Early in the new year the training camp was over-run by a virulent strain of pneumonia, and during February and March over four hundred men had been admitted to hospital. Forty-three of those men died, including Private Bowen, his death being recorded as “war-related sickness”. He is buried at St Mary's Church in Meifod.
An investigation had been undertaken after it was thought that German medical personnel at the camp had inoculated soldiers with a deadly virus. However, the official report stated that there had been an outbreak of “influenza pneumonia” which had been aggravated by the severely cold weather. The report also referred to many of the recruits being of poor physique, exhausted by the physical training and therefore vulnerable to respiratory illnesses.
Edward, from Meifod in Montgomeryshire, was 22 years old.