The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (VX3935) Lieutenant Jack Stevenson Bowen, 2/6th Battalion, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.69
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 10 March 2021
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Tristan Rallings, the story for this day was on (VX3935) Lieutenant Jack Stevenson Bowen, 2/6th Battalion, Second World War.

Speech transcript

VX3935 Lieutenant Jack Stevenson Bowen, 2/6th Battalion
KIA 3 January 1941

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Jack Stevenson Bowen.

Jack Bowen was born on 3 November 1913, the eldest son of Evan and Iris Bowen of Victoria. His family owned 440 acres at Tooradin, just outside of Melbourne. Jack began his education at the Glamorgan Preparatory School for Boys in Toorak, and completed it at Melbourne Grammar School. Jack was a keen cricketer, and was a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club. Every year he also represented Tooradin in Country Week cricket. After his education in Melbourne, Jack returned to the family farm as manager, successfully running the property for at least three years before war broke out.

In December 1938, the year before hostilities broke out in Europe, Jack Bowen enlisted for service in the Australian Militia. He proved an able soldier during his training, and was promoted to corporal by September 1939. In December of that year, Bowen left the militia to enlist in the second Australian Imperial Force. He underwent further training in Australia, resulting in the commissioned rank of lieutenant, which he received in June 1940.

On 24 June, the same month as he received his commission, Jack Bowen married Josephine Rodway of Nowra in a ceremony in the Holy Trinity Church of England in Melbourne. Three months later he left Australia for active service overseas.

Lieutenant Bowen arrived in Palestine in mid-October 1940. By the end of the month he had joined the 2/6th Battalion as it completed its training in various locations around Palestine and Egypt.

In early January 1941 the 2/6th Battalion became one of the first Australian battalions to fight in the Western Desert Campaign when it took part in the Battle of Bardia in Libya. Bowen’s battalion was ordered to attack an enemy-held wadi near the Italian stronghold in Bardia.

Beginning their attack in the early hours of the 3rd of January, the men of the 2/6th Battalion attacked a string of enemy posts, successfully advancing across the desert. However, not long afterwards their positions came under heavy shell-fire, and the battalion suffered a number of casualties, withdrawing from some of their positions.

On the morning of 4 January battalion headquarters put together a casualty report, which included eight killed, 26 wounded and 30 missing. One of those missing was Lieutenant Jack Bowen. The following day he and a number of men from D Company were found dead in and around an Italian post at Wadi Muatered. Their bodies were recovered when the post was recaptured and they were buried in the desert.

Today the body of Lieutenant Jack Bowen lies in the Halfaya Sollum War Cemetery in Egypt under a Commonwealth War Graves stone with no inscription. He was 27 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Lieutenant Jack Stevenson Bowen, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (VX3935) Lieutenant Jack Stevenson Bowen, 2/6th Battalion, Second World War. (video)