Rowland Bowen

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Major Rowland Francis Bowen (27 February 1916 4 September 1978) was a British Army officer and a cricket researcher, historian and writer.

Educated at Westminster, Bowen was emergency commissioned in April 1942 into the Indian Army. [1] He spent many years in Egypt, Sudan and India before returning to England in 1951 and joining the Royal Engineers as a Captain, working at the War Office and ultimately being promoted to the rank of Major. [2] He later worked for the Joint Intelligence Bureau, part of Britain's military intelligence establishment. [3]

He became involved in cricket research and history in 1958 and, in 1963, he founded the magazine The Cricket Quarterly which ran until 1970. [2] He is best known for his book Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development throughout the World [4] which has been described as "indispensable" but also as "spikily controversial and vigorously wide-ranging". [5] In John Arlott's review of the book for Wisden, he commented that it was "unique in my experience as a major work on cricket written from a wide view, in disapproval of the game's establishment and in expectation of the demise of the first-class game". [6]

An eccentric and difficult man "Bowen never made an influential friend he couldn’t turn into an avowed adversary" [3] Bowen amputated his perfectly healthy right leg below the knee in September 1968. [3] In 1974 he married a widow, Anne Valerie Jodelko, who had two visually-impaired sons. He died four years later, at Buckfastleigh, Devon, aged 62. [3]

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References

  1. London Gazette 3 July 1942
  2. 1 2 The Cricketer 1978 obituary.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Jackson, Russell (22 July 2017). "Cricket Historian, Writer, Surgeon, Spy: The Mad World of Major Rowland Bowen". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  4. Rowland Bowen, Cricket: A History of its Growth and Development, Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1970
  5. Eric Midwinter, W G Grace: His Life and Times, George Allen and Unwin, 1981.
  6. John Arlott, "Cricket Books, 1970", Wisden Cricketer's Almanack 1971, p. 1069.