By Kate Gordon, Glasgow University’s Great War project volunteer
Archibald Allan (A A) Bowman, a former student and later Chair of Moral Philosophy at the University of Glasgow, was captured at the Battle of Lys on 9th April 1918 and remained a prisoner of war in Germany until December 1918. His records include correspondence in the form of postcards and letters from family including his wife, Mabel Stewart Bowman, friends and colleagues and other officers that he met and formed friendships with during his time in the prison camps.
Whilst working on cataloguing the correspondence from 1918, I discovered a letter sent from A A Bowman’s colleague and friend Norman Kemp Smith to Mabel. The letter and a prior telegram, also from Smith, was in relation to a telegram sent from the War Office advising Mabel that her husband had been injured in the Battle of Lys on 9th April 1918.
According to Norman Kemp Smith, who was working in the Ministry of Information at the time, the telegram from the War Office had been sent to Mabel Bowman by mistake and was actually intended for a different Bowman. This Bowman was from South Africa and belonged to the Rifle Brigade and not the Highland Light Infantry, as A A Bowman did. Strangely enough both men carried the surname of Bowman and both were injured on 9th April 1918.