3763 Honourable Captain Bandmaster Frederick BOWES B.E.M.

 So Anzac Day has appeared again.  Always an emotional day for a lot of us on this side of the world.

As usual, I visited a cemetery to take photographs of family memorials (not my family) mentioning loved ones buried where they fell overseas and often walking through other sections headstones/plaques catch my eye.  Frederick BOWES resting place was one of these.  He appeared to maybe have something to delve deeper in to.

Frederick was a bit of a sharp shooter!  A sportsman whose achievements which included representing New Zealand have been lost to time as well as his notable talents as a cornetist and trumpet player who was a founding member of and played regularly in the Auckland Municipal Band and who was highly respected.

On 28 March 1935 this article appeared in the Auckland Star
"Mr. Fred. Bowes the King's Prize winner at the recent Dominion rifle championship meeting, who is a member of the Auckland Municipal Band, was tendered a complimentary social by his fellow bandsmen at the Mecca Tearooms last night. Mr. Geo Buckley, conductor, of the band, presided, and commented upon the fact that many bandsmen and conductors had, been prominent riflemen."[21]

Grave of Frederick BOWES B.E.M.Grave of Frederick BOWES B.E.M.

Hon. Captain
DIED 11-1-1961

Waikumete Cemetery
Service Persons Area L Row 6, Plot 68 [1]
Pre and Post war occupation: Truck Driver [2]


Born 5 October 1907 in Durham, South Shields, England [14][19],  Frederick was the son of Joseph Thomas, a miner and Emma BOWES.  The small family  emigrated to New Zealand on board the ‘Ruapehu’ leaving Southampton on 9 June 1922 and alighting at Wellington.  Their previous address in the United Kingdom was 134 Charles Street, Bolton Collery. [16]

Frederick's mother Emma died 20 July 1937 aged 63 and is also buried  at Waikumete cemetery Anglican Division G Row 5, Plot 16 [17].  His father Joseph died 7 Dec 1944 aged 69 and he is buried with Emma.  Joseph's death notice states he was a late member of the Municipal and First Auckland Regiment bands[18], he was also the brother of Lieut. G. W. BOWES, a well known conductor who appeared with the Wellington Municipal Tramway Military Band and who was in New Zealand prior to his brother[23].   Another brother was Marten BOWES of Wanganui who also appears to have been musical as he is noted as playing a fine horn solo in a production of William Tell in 1916[24] .  Joseph and Emma had married c1900[19].
Frederick BOWES went on to marry Marjorie Alexandra MCDONALD c1937[20].

Frederick was a shooting champion and a member of the Auckland Miniature Rifle Club.  Using Paperspast, I discovered many entries noting his achievements.

New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXII, Issue 22053, 8 March 1935 [6]
AUCKLANDER WINS KING'S PRIZE F. Bowes, of the Auckland City Rifle Club, winner of the championship belt and King's Prize at the national rifle meeting held at Trentham. 

Auckland Star, Volume LXV, Issue 25, 30 January 1934 [7]

WINNER OF THE AUCKLAND SHOOTING CHAMPIONSHIP.—H. Simmonds Left) being congratulated by F. Bowes, who tied for second place with H G. Devore at the Auckland Rifle Association meeting at Penrose yesterday.








F. Bowes (Auckland), who was the winner of the King's Prize and the Ballinger Belt.

Press, Volume LXXI, Issue 21416, 7 March 1935 [10]




















New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXII, Issue 22054, 9 March 1935  [9]

The winner of the King's Prize at the national rifle shooting Trentham, Mr. F. Bowes, returned to Auckland by train yesterday morning and was welcomed at the station by a gathering including riflemen and bandsmen While Mr. Bowes was "chaired" by the riflemen, the Auckland Municipal Band, in which he is the leading cornet soloist, played appropriate music

New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXIV, Issue 22886, 15 November 1937 [8]

SELECTED TO REPRESENT DOMINION IN AUSTRALIA Mr. F. Bowes, of the Auckland Rifle Club, ex-Auckland and New Zealand champion, photographed at a practice shoot at Penrose on Saturday. He is the only Aucklander included in the New Zealand team to compete in shooting events to be held in conjunction with the Empire Games in Sydney next year.



Auckland Star, Volume LXVIII, Issue 271, 15 November 1937


Sharp shooter empire games [4]

New Zealand Rifle Team1938
Northern Advocate, 26 February 1938[12]

 "Evening Post" Photo. The Auckland City A team, winners of the Champion Service Teams Match at the National Rifle Association's meeting at Trentham, with their trophy. At back, D. Perrin, H. Simmonds,- F. Devore, R. C. Russell, R. and A. W. Harris. In front, F. Bowes, I. J. Spry.

New Zealand Herald, Volume LXXV, Issue 23022, 27 April 1938  [5]

Evening Post, Volume CXXVII, Issue 59, 11 March 1939 [11]












Frederick appears on the  First Echelon Nominal roll 1, 1939 - 31 March 1940.
18th Auckland Unit.  He and Marjorie were living at 22 West Street, Newton, Auckland.
He also appears on the 13th roll. 1 Jan 1944 - 31 March 1945. Infantry Brigade, still of the same address above.[25]

On the 24 April 1945 in the  New Zealand Herald, it was written:
AUCKLAND BANDMASTER The task of training reinforcements for the band of the New Zealand Division at Maadi Camp was one which fell to the lot of Captain F. Bowes, of Newton, a member of the draft of returned servicemen which arrived yesterday. Well known in Auckland as  bandmaster, Captain Bowes is a foundation member of the Municipal Band and later led the band of the Ist Auckland Battalion.[22]

Captain Bowes stated that the training of recruits was a full-time job and a unit of 30 players had been maintained from among the reinforcements. This unit had given many concerts for hospitals and convalescent camps in the Middle East.

NZ Herald 13 July 1943
Noted as returning on extended furlough as Hon. Lieut [3]

Recipient of the British Empire Medal on 5 June 1945

Auckland Star, Volume LXXVI, Issue 132, 6 June 1945 [13]

At an investiture ceremony in the Town Hall last night the Governor-General, Sir Cyril Newall, presented awards for gallantry or distinguished service to 101 members of the Navy. Army, Air Force and Nursing Service. In addition to next-of-kin of the recipients there was a large attendance of the public. Representatives of the services and public bodies were also present. The ceremony lasted three hours. As each citation was read and the decoration was pinned on the breast of the recipient by his Excellency there was loud applause. This was accentuated when there was any mention of some conspicuous act of heroism or gallantry. The first person called to the platform was a charge-sister. She was the only woman to receive an award on this occasion. His Excellency was accompanied by Lady Newall, Major H. A. Jaffray, military secretary, Captain the Hon. D. E. A. Winn, A.D.C., Commodore W. K. D. Dowding, D.S.C., R.N., Brigadier A. E. Conway, 0.8. E., N.Z.S.C., Group-Captain C. C. Hunter, R.N.Z.A.F., and Lieutenant Colonel F. J. Gwilliam, E.D., all honorary aides-de-camp to' his Excellency. The citations were read by Major Jaffray. His Excellency presented the awards and Lady Newall shook hands with each recipient. On three occasions when crippled servicemen were called their Excellencies met them on the floor of the hall, thus saving the injured men the difficulty of mounting the steps to the platform. The following awards were presented-:…. British Empire Medal (B.E.M.).—Honorary Captain (Bandmaster) F Bowes, of Auckland…”

It appears Fred did a lot in his short life.

Frederick's wife Marjorie died 2 December 2004 and is buried at Waikumete Cemetery, West Berm C Row 3, Plot 3X [15]

Sorry about the formatting!  The site does my head in! LOL!

Archives New Zealand; probate record information; https://www.archway.archives.govt.nz/ViewFullItem.do?code=14744922
New Zealand Herald, Volume 80, Issue 24634, 13 July 1943


Ancestry.co.uk member “jmeyerc11”
Auckland Council website
Ancestry.co.uk; UK, Outward passenger lists, 1890-1960
Ancestry.co.uk; 1911 England Census, Durham, South Shields, 71
NZ Dept Internal Affairs Historic BDM indexes; marriage registration 1937/13121 
Name noted as Martin not Marten
ancestry.com.uk; New Zealand Army WWII Nominal Rolls, 1939-1948

©2018 Sarndra Lees


  1. Thank you for this article. As a nephew of Marjorie Bowes I was only 1 when Fred died. However Aunty Marge would often talk of his achievements as both a cornetist and a rifleman.
    Just a minor matter about Fred's father. You state he died in 1944 at age 49, yet married in 1900. That would make him 5 yo at the time of his marriage.

    1. Kia ora Lee. Thank you so much for leaving a message. Yes 49 was an error on my part. I have now amended to 69. I couldn't have been concentrating that night!
      Have a lovely festive season.


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