Isn’t it strange how stories can sometimes take on a life of their own?
Following the publication of the story of Fergus Bowes-Lyon, the Queen Mother’s brother, in the e-newsletter and the Teesdale Mercury, somebody suggested to me that his link with Teesdale was rather tenuous. But the appearance of his name on the Roll of Honour tablet in Laithkirk chapel in Lunedale clarifies the situation. Fergus Bowes-Lyon appears there with the names of eleven other men from the parish. The Earl of Strathmore was lord of the manor and had a hunting lodge at Holwick, as noted in a printed directory of North Yorkshire and confirmed by staff at Glamis Castle. Members of the Strathmore family regularly visited the area and presumably Fergus Bowes-Lyon had spent some shooting seasons at Holwick.
And soon after the story was published, one of the volunteers on the project pointed out this reference in With a machine gun to Cambrai by George Coppard (published 1969):
“Perhaps he [a pal] would find time to fix up a cross made of two bits of wood from an ammo box, and scrawl my name in indelible pencil on it the same as I had seen hundreds of names on similar crosses from time to time. I remembered a cross I had seen somewhere near Fosse 8, on which read ‘Captain F. Bowes Lyons, Black Watch, 4th son of the Earl of Strathmore.’”
The surname isn’t exactly correct but it’s clearly the same person. This observation dates from the beginning of October 1916, more than a year after Fergus Bowes-Lyons’ death.
By Judith Phillips