Robert Bowman (known as Bob) – born in 1892 in Cumberland (now Cumbria) in the North-West of England. Married Elizabeth Davidson and had 7 children, 3 girls and 4 boys. Bob worked on the Carlisle to Silloth railway then an important freight route for exports and imports. Robert did not go into the army for World War 1 as the railway was important for the war effort and so Robert was in a "reserved occupation". Elizabeth died young leaving Robert with a number of young children and in 1930 Bob married a widow, Jane (Jinnie) Lomas, a mother of two, who owned a small house in Silloth. 'Bob and Jinnie went on to have two more children Hilda and Ernest.
Eldest child of Bob and Elizabeth was initially brought up by her Aunty Nellie. When Bob remarried he and Jinnie planned to move into the house in Silloth leaving Maggie to take care of her younger siblings. Much as she loved them, Maggie wanted a life of her own. She married Pearson Watson in 1935. Like many others Pearson was forced to move south to get work and he joined Vauxhall in Luton. They had four children, Hilda, John, Lesley and Michael.
Eldest of the Bowman boys worked on civil engineering contracts as a bulldozer driver. It is said he turned the first turf of what was to become Heathrow Airport. George died of cancer in 1946 leaving a wife, Irene, and two very young daughters, Maureen and Nola.
Left home in 1931 to sign up for the army. The house in Skiddaw Street was not a happy home, and there was a large family to feed. On the low wages of a railway worker Bob struggled to feed his family and it is said that John left because he was always hungry and in the army he would get 3 square meals a day. John agreed life was tough in the crowded household but also said that his step-mother had made a pass at him, so he decided it was time to go. He enlisted at Carlisle Castle where the regiment in residence was the Household Cavalry. He would have a successful career in the army reaching the rank of Corporal of Horse the highest non-commissioned rank in the regiment. To be a commissioned officer you had to have money.
Moved to London before WW2 in search of a better life working in a machine shop rather than become an agricultural labourer in Cumbria. His job must have been a reserved occupation, ie essential to the war effort as he was not required to join the army when war broke out but joined the Home Guard. It was at a Home Guard dance event at the beginning of the war that he met Joan, daughter of fellow Home Guard, Sven Carlson. Sven was a sailor from Finland who married Hilda, a girl from the East End of London. Andy and Joan married a couple of years later, initially living with Sven and Hilda, which was not uncommon in those days. They had two sons, David and Paul.
Left school at 14 and found work as an agricultural labourer on a farm near Silloth. His eldest brother, George, was working as a bulldozer driver and arranged for Bob to join him travelling the country on Civil Engineering contracts. This took him to Shropshire working firstly on opencast coal sites and then to a place near Tibberton constructing the runways at Childs Ercall Aerodrome. Working in the canteen was a young lady, Kathleen Cartwright, who Bob went on to marry. Bob did national service but was not called up for WW2, possibly because he was working on contracts essential to the war effort. Bob and Kath had 2 children, Leslie and Sheila.
Moved to Luton in November 1941 where she met and married Basil Tyler who also worked at Vauxhall. They had two daughters Jeanette and Susan.
Had very unhappy memories of her childhood in Silloth and would recall going to school with bruises from beatings she had received. On one occasion Jinnie sent her to the churchyard with nail scissors to cut the grass on her mother’s grave. When she was old enough she moved to Luton to be near her sister Maggie. She fell in love with Tom McLoughlin, a merchant seaman who was killed at sea during WW2. Tom's older brother, Frank, went to visit Betty and they subsequently married, They had two daughters, Margaret and Jennifer.