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711499/447105 PTE. J. DOWBAKIN. R.F.A.


Joseph Dowbakin was born in the third quarter of 1893 in Bamber Bridge.  His parents at the time were not married.  His mother was Alice Fellows (b. 1876 in Bamber Bridge).  She was 17 when Joseph was born and the following year she married Thomas Dowbakin (b. 1870 in Bamber Bridge), a cotton loomer.  Tom gives Joe’s surname as Fellows in the 1911 Census, but in all other records his surname is Dowbakin.  So Alice and Tom were married in 1894 and they had 10 children, though one died in infancy.  The survivors, after Joseph, were: Jane (b. 1894), John (b. 1896), Thomas (b. 1899), Alice Ann (b. 1901), William Aloysius (b. 1903), Theresa (b. 1904), Priscilla (b. 1905) and finally Louis (b. 1910).  In 1911, the family (parents and all nine children) were living in a five-room house, at 11 Mounsey Road, Bamber Bridge.  Joe worked in a cotton spinning mill as a creeler.  They later moved to 15 Collins Road.


Joe enlisted soon after War broke out and he joined the Royal Field Artillery.  He did not join the same unit as the other Briggers.  He was given service number 711499 and this means he was in an East Lancashire Brigade as this number is in a range used by 212 and 332 Brigades.  From his medal records we know that Joe served in Egypt (from 16 May 1915) and the Balkans (from 8 November) so that would put him in 212 Brigade, in 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.  To complicate matters, however, Joe was at some stage transferred to the Labour Corps.  He was assigned a new service number, 447105, and posted to 901st Area Employment Company.  I don’t know for sure where this company was based, but it seems likely that Joe went first to Egypt and then to Gallipoli, but he would have been there only briefly.  Other artillery units went to Salonika in 1917, others fought in the Palestine campaigns of 1917 and 1918.


Joe died of influenza at the Lord Derby Military Hospital, Winwick, Warrington on 8 March 1919.


Rank:  Private

Service Number:  711499

Date of Death:  08/03/1919

Age:  25

Regiment/Service:  Royal Field Artillery, transf. to (447105) 901st Area Employment Coy. Labour Corps

Cemetery/memorial reference: East end.


Additional Information:  Son of Thomas and Alice Dowbakin, of 15 Collins Road, Bamber Bridge.


Joe’s brother, John, enlisted with the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on 8 September 1914 but was discharged as medically unfit on 7 November 1914.  He married Henrietta Mayers in 1920 and they had a son, Thomas.  They lived at 51 Collins Road.  John died in 1962.

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