Henry Bowen was born in Farndon, Cheshire, England in 1864, the son of John and Sarah Bowen. He was married to Mary Bowen (née Lane) and they lived at 36 Jackson Street, Birkenhead, Cheshire.
He was a professional seaman in the Mercantile Marine and was serving in that capacity on the outbreak of the First World War.
On 12 April 1915 he engaged at Liverpool as a fireman in the Engineering Department on board the
Lusitania, at a monthly rate of pay of £6-10s-0d, (£6.50), £1-0s-0d of which was advanced to him at the time. He reported for duty on board ship at 8am. on 17 April, before she left the River Mersey for the last time. His previous ship had been the SS Voltaire.
Having successfully completed the first leg of the liner’s return journey to New York, Fireman Bowen was killed when the
Lusitania was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-20, six days out of New York on her return voyage. At that time the liner was within sight of the coast of southern Ireland and only hours away from the safety of her home port. As his body was never found and identified afterwards, his name is embossed on the Mercantile Marine Memorial at Tower Hill, London. He was aged 51 years, although he gave his age as 49, when he engaged.
He is also commemorated on the County Borough of Birkenhead War Memorial in Hamilton Square, Birkenhead, Merseyside.
In August 1915 his widow Mary was paid the balance of wages owing to him in respect of his service on board from 17 April 1915 until 8 May, 24 hours after the liner had gone down. The Liverpool and London War Risks Insurance Association Limited granted a yearly pension to Mary Bowen to compensate her for the loss of her husband which amounted to £18-8s-1d (£18.40½) which was payable at the rate of £1-10s-9d (£1.53½) per month.
The family was obviously still bitter about his loss three years after his death, for in the 'In Memoriam' column of the 'Birkenhead News and Advertiser' for 7 May 1918, after the details of his death, they had submitted the biblical text:
“Revenge is mine and I will repay,
Saith The Lord.”
Register of Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1881 Census of England and Wales, 1891 Census of England and Wales, 1901 Census of England and Wales, 1911 Census of England and Wales, Birkenhead News, Birkenhead War Memorial Records, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Cunard Records, PRO BT 100/345, PRO BT 334, UniLiv. PR 13/24.