Death of Ned Bowles, key figure in Carnoustie rugby


It is with sadness that we report the passing of Philip Edgar Harry Bowles, better known as ‘Ned’, a leading light in Carnoustie’s rugby scene.

Mr Bowles (84) passed away peacefully at Antiquary House last Wednesday (October 22) after a long illness.

He was born in Dartmouth where his father was an instructor in Seamanship at Dartmouth Naval College.

The family moved to Carnlough, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, where Ned undertook his primary schooling. One of his favourite anecdotes of his school days there came at the advent of the Second World War when the playground was dug up to plant vegetables and a young Ned was awarded first prize for having the best vegetable patch in the school.

His secondary education was at the Royal Naval Hospital School in Ipswich, and at the tail end of the war he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Royal Navy as an artificer apprentice.

In 1947 he was stationed at HMS Condor for aircraft training and he was billeted at HMS Peewitt, at The Hatton, Easthaven.

Ned was a good 800m runner and keen rugby player and was often a fixture in the teams fielded by his various postings.

Ned met his wife Sheila, a Royal Navy air mechanic, in 1952 while stationed at RNAS Eglinton, near Londonderry, and they married shortly after.

Their daughter Philippa was born in 1953, followed by Iain in 1956 and Bill in 1961, and the loss of Philippa to MS three years ago was a major blow to Ned and the family.

Ned’s work with the Royal Navy and his much sought after expertise with the Blackburn Buccaneer carrier-borne strike fighter took the family to many varied and interesting postings, including a two-year stint in Singapore.

He also served on carriers HMS Eagle and HMS Ark Royal, and his son Iain also served on the same iteration of the Ark Royal, shortly before its decommission in the late 1970s.

Ned’s last posting was to HMS Condor in 1968 and in 1970 he left the Royal Navy to work for Rolls Royce.

When the Michelin Factory in Dundee opened in 1972 Ned was one of the first employees and worked there until he retired in 1991 at age 61.

During the mid-1970s Ned was one of the founding members of Carnoustie Rugby Club, and was president when the team won the Midlands Division Championship.

He also played an active part in the Carnoustie branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland as a key part of their committee.

His son Iain said: “Our father will be greatly missed. We realise it was his time, but irrespective of that it still hurts.

“He was a real character with a very great and dry sense of humour. He always had a smile and was pleased to see people, and he had a knack of making people feel at ease.

“He bore his illness with great fortitude and he was an example of how to live with an illness.

“The family would like to thank all those who cared for him, they were all absolutely brilliant and we cannot thank them enough.”

The service will be held at 12 noon today (Friday) at the Church of The Holy Rood, Holyrood Street, then Panbride, followed by tea at the British Legion clubrooms, Dundee Street.

Family flowers only, but there will be a collection for MS Scotland in memory of Philippa, and the family would welcome any donations.