Lieutenant Archibald Allan Bowman

Biography of Lieutenant Archibald Allan Bowman

Archibald Allan Bowman was born in Beith, Ayrshire, in 1883, the eldest son of an Evangelical Union Minister. He attended Speirs School and Beith Academy before going on to the University of Glasgow, where he studied between 1901 and 1905.

His undergraduate career was distinguished, graduating with first class honours in Philosophy and second class honours in Classics.

In addition to class prizes in Logic, English, Greek and Political Economy, he won the Edward Caird Medal in Moral Philosophy (1904-1905), the University Silver Medal in Mental Philosophy (1903-1904) and the Coulter Prize in English (1903-1904) and Classics (1901-1902).

After graduating he was appointed assistant to the Professor of Logic at Glasgow University and Lecturer in Logic at Queen Margaret College.

In 1912 he accepted the Chair of Logic at Princeton University in succession to Dr Hibben. He married Mabel Stewart on Christmas Eve 1912, and together they had three children, Archibald, Alistair and Mary. His courtship and close relationship with his wife is revealed in their voluminous correspondence and in his diaries held by the University of Glasgow (GUAS Ref: DC 77).

When the First World War broke out, A A Bowman applied for leave of absence in order to join the British Army, which was granted in 1915. He was appointed as an officer in the land forces at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant from the 13th September 1915. He served both in Britain and France, belonging to the Highland Light Infantry and was seconded to the 52nd Training Battalion at Windygates, Fife.

He was taken prisoner at the Battle of Lys, in April 1918, and spent some months in captivity as a prisoner of war, finally ending up at Huespe. While in captivity he wrote many sonnets including the one below which was written at Rastatt on 1st May 1918.

"Gray figures stealing, and a headlong dash
from hedge to house, from house again to hedge,
And fifty rifles levelled on the ledge!
One instant on the aim, and then, the crash!
He went to earth and vanished in a flash.
And there once more was house, and there was hedge,
With sprouting field, and farm, and ditch with sedge,
And crop-head pollard row and leafless ash -
A cheerless landscape gray, and the profound
Loneliness of the battlefield. The next
Moment trench-mortar shells were on our head;
Another, and the day was sealed and fixed
On front and flank. Among the stricken dead
One in the skull, behind, his summons found.
"

In 1925 he returned to Glasgow University as Professor of Logic and Rhetoric, becoming Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1926. More information about Bowman's war service can be found in his papers held by the University of Glasgow which include photographs, letters written home and sonnets written in captivity.

After his capture during the war, A A Bowman felt very strongly about the League of Nations, and wrote many talks which he delivered to a variety of clubs and societies, to further the League's cause. A strong advocate of adult education, and temperance, he undertook and enormous schedule of talks and addresses, which placed a great strain on his health.

His son Archibald Iain Bowman collected much material in order to write a biography of A A Bowman, which remains unfinished. A I Bowman's papers are also deposited in the University Archives (GUAS Ref: DC 137) and these include the manuscript of the partial biography.

 

Summary

Lieutenant Archibald Allan Bowman
Rank: Lieutenant
Regiment: 13th Highland Light Infantry
Degree: MA
Awards: N/A
Comments: Prisoner of war
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/569
Photo ID: DC 77/9/2/18(2)

Sources

Biography: (GUAS Ref: DC 77)

Indexes to prize list (GUAS Ref: R 7/3) and calendars (GUAS Ref: SEN 10)

Commission Paper Image: (GUAS Ref: DC 77/2/2/1)

Photograph: (GUAS Ref: DC 77/9/2/18(2))

Sonnet: (GUAS Ref: DC 77/2/3/10 p.14)

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