George Bowen (1)
Died1823. He was of Welsh descent, the cousin of Captain George Bowen who died in command of the Trusty in 1800.
Bowen was commissioned lieutenant on 13 March 1773 and promoted commander on 19 November 1779, in which rank he commissioned the ex-sloop Druid 16 as the fireship Blast and took her out to the Leeward Islands in May 1780.
He was posted captain on 14 February 1781, and commanded the Ajax 74 on a temporary basis from May to July. He then joined the Montagu 74 in succession to Captain John Houlton and fought at the Battle of Chesapeake Bay on 5 September, suffering casualties of eight men killed and twenty-two wounded, and thereafter sailing in December from New York to Barbados with Rear-Admiral Sir Samuel Hood’s squadron. He commanded the same vessel at the action off St. Kitts on 25 January 1782, requiring rescue from the French attack, and at the Battle of the Saintes on 12 April where his command suffered casualties of fourteen men killed and twenty-nine wounded. He then returned to England with the victorious commander-in-chief, Admiral Lord Rodney, having in company the Flora 32, Captain Samuel Marshall, and arriving at Bristol on 21 September. His command was paid off in November.
In May 1783 Bowen recommissioned the Flora 36, retaining her but for four months, and thereafter he remained unemployed bar the brief command of the Bellona 74 around the turn of the 1790’s.
In June 1793 he assumed command of the Belliqueux 64, going out to Jamaica in March 1794. Following the death of Captain Lewis Robertson on 3 July he removed to the Veteran 64, remaining in the Leeward Islands for but a short time before returning home.
In August 1795 he joined the Canada 74, flying the flag of Rear-Admiral Sir Roger Curtis at Spithead from the following month, and receiving members of the French Royal family on board. She then went out to the Leeward Islands with Rear-Admiral Sir Hugh Christian’s force in early 1796 and was present at the capture of St. Lucia in June.
Having removed to the Jamaican station in the summer of 1796, Bowen left the Canada when she returned home for repairs that winter, and until June 1798 he commanded the Carnatic 74 on the same station. Here he presided over the court-martials of several mutineers from the Hermione and earned the praise of the commander-in-chief, Vice-Admiral Sir Hyde Parker, for his strict sentencing, including that of a blind seaman for execution.
Following her repairs at Plymouth in the summer of 1798 he took command of the Captain 74, retaining her in home waters until promoted rear-admiral on 14 February 1799. He headed the list of admirals promoted vice-admiral on 9 November 1805, and became an admiral on 31 July 1810.
Bowen died at Shrewsbury on 1 July 1823.
He and his wife Mary had one son, George, whilst Elizabeth Essex Bowen, born in 1797, was his youngest daughter. He owned Coton Hall, Shropshire, from the early 19th Century.