b. 10/02/1884 Southsea, Hampshire. d. 06/12/1917 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 06/12/1917 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
Tom was the fourth of six children of Captain Tom Bowden and Annie Louisa Triggs (nee Thomas) from Southsea, Hampshire. Sadly, Tom's elder brother John died aged just 15 when he was 13, and his younger brother Guy, who was killed in action with the Canadian Light Infantry a year after Tom in 1918, aged 30. Tom followed his father into the Royal Navy and was appointed Midshipman on HMS Glory on 1st January 1900, and was promoted to Sub Lieutenant on 10th February 1903. In 1911 he married Annie Jameson in Ormskirk, Lancashire and they had two daughters, Betty and Patricia. Sadly, Annie died less than six months after Patricia's birth in October 1915. Tom was Acting Commander of HMS Highflyer at the time of the Halifax Explosion that cost him his life.
On the 6th December, 1917, the French steamer " Mont Blanc," with a cargo of high explosives, and the Norwegian steamer " Imo," were in collision in Halifax Harbour . Fire broke out on the ''Mont Blanc'' immediately after the collision, and the flames very quickly rose to a height of over
100 feet. The crew abandoned their ship and pulled towards the shore. The Captain of H.M.S. "Highflyer," which was about a mile away, at once sent off a boat to see if anything could be done to prevent loss of life, and Commander Triggs, volunteering for this duty, immediately got into the ship's whaler and pulled to the scene. A tug and the steamboat of H.M.C.S. "Niobe" were seen going there at the same time. Commander Triggs boarded the tug, and finding it was impossible to do anything for the " Mont Blanc," decided to endeavour to get the "Imo" away, giving directions accordingly to the tug. He returned to the whaler, and was pulling towards the bows of the " Imo," which was aibout 300 yards from the "Mont Blanc," to pass a line from her to the: tug, when a tremendous explosion occurred. Of the seven people in the whaler, one, Able Seaman Becker, was rescued alive on the Dartmouth shore, whither he had swum the remainder perished. It is clear that after communication with the tug, Commander Triggs and the rest of
the boat's crew were fully aware of the desperate nature of the work they were engaged in, and that by their devotion to duty they sacrificed their lives in the endeavour to save the lives of others.
BURIAL LOCATION: BODY LOST AT SEA - PLYMOUTH NAVAL MEMORIAL. PANEL 20.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: CANADIAN WAR MUSEUM, OTTAWA.
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