Name Bowden Laurence Rank: Stoker
Number RAN W1957
Ship HMAS Sydney
Place of Birth. Ulverstone Tasmania 13 October 1922
Next of Kin His father Arthur Bowden
He was the son of Henry and Agnes Bowden of Langwarrin
Date and place of enlistment 6 January 1941 Williamstown
Location on enlistment Langwarrin
Date and place of death 20 November 1941 Indian Ocean
Location of grave or memorial
He has his name on the HMAS Sydney 11 Memorial Geraldton and on memorials in Leongatha and Frankston.
Relationship to Woorayl Shire
The family farmed during the 1930s in the Dumbalk area before moving to Langwarrin in 1941. Two brothers Henry Edwin and Ernest Arthur enlisted in 1940 and 1942 respectively and gave their addresses as Dumbalk.
A section of the memorial Geraldton
|Bonner, Reginald||Mechanician 1st Class||NSW||AUSTRALIA|
|Bool, James||Ordinary Seaman||VIC||AUSTRALIA|
|Booth, Ernest Albert||Able Seaman||VIC||AUSTRALIA|
|Bowden, Laurence||Stoker 2nd Class||VIC||AUSTRALIA|
|Bowes, Keith Andrew Joseph||Stoker||NSW||AUSTRALIA|
|Box, Robert Aubrey||Stoker 2nd Class||TAS||AUSTRALIA|
|Boyd, David William||Acting Leading Sick Berth Attendant||VIC||AUSTRALIA|
The HMAS Sydney II
After a number of deployments on the east coast, including several to New Zealand, Sydney II passed through the Sydney Heads, assigned to escort US 12B to Fremantle where she arrived three days later on 25 September. Leaving Fremantle to undertake the ‘milk run’ up to Sunda Strait she did a handover of US12B to HMS Glasgow who would finish the escort. By now she had become a familiar sight off the coast of Western Australia where there had also been a number of disturbing reports about the disappearance of several merchant ships. This suggested there was a raider in the region. In fact, the German Navy’s largest auxiliary cruiser, the Kormoran, disguised as a Dutch merchant ship MV Straat Malakka and her Captain, Kapitan zur See Theodor Anton Detmers were the culprits.
On November 19, after returning from an escort of the Zealandia to the handover point to HMS Durban in the Sunda Straits, Sydney II would encounter the Kormoran by surprise. It was an encounter that would prove to be her undoing and remains Australia’s worst naval disaster. All on board were lost.