RNAS 9 Flez Airfield Flanders Region Flight Lieutenant G. E. Hervey reporting:
18 June 1917 I have the sad duty of reporting that Squadron Commander Bower has died in combat. I can confirm that while his death was possibly preventable and certainly regrettable, it was not in vain.
We had been ordered to transfer to our current position at Flez airfield in the Southern part of the region from Furnes in the North. Squadron Commander Bower led our flight of six successfully to our new home without incident and had directed us to land. With the flight on final approach he saw a flight of Albatrosses low to the East and heading toward the field, no doubt with evil intentions. The rest of us were so focused on landing that we never noticed, so without hesitation he attacked them single-handed, scattering them. He singled out one enemy machine and fired two long bursts and it lurched and dove directly into the ground just off the Southwest corner of the airfield.
After dispatching the first Albatros he quickly latched onto another. Like the last, he shot this one down with only a few bursts and it crashed less than 200 yards West of the airfield.
Following his second victory he circled the airfield looking for more Huns. It appeared that the coast was clear, but he apparently wasn't satisfied and flew East to be sure. I saw a few puffs of anti-aircraft fire a mile or so East of the airfield and he must have, too, because he turned toward it. I lost sight of him shortly after that, but according to the observer in the balloon Northeast of Vaux-en-Vermandois he closed on an enemy machine that was making for the German lines and fired on it from close range. The Hun pitched up and turned left and Squadron Commander Bower followed him. He apparently got too close and when the enemy machine, which was smoking heavily by this time, turned sharply the two machines collided and crashed within yards of each other, about a mile south of the balloon. Members of the balloon's ground crew rushed to the scene, but by the time the got there both Squadron Commander Bower and the German pilot were dead from their injuries.
Gentlemen, I say you Squadron Commander T. Bower DSO MC VC Victor in 27 aerial combats Survivor of 55 aerial missions with 59 1/2 hours of flight time Died in service to King, God, and Country RIP