A 1916 Canadian Memorial Cross the Son of the Count del Monaco
A 1916 Canadian Memorial Cross the Son of the Count del Monaco - An interesting Canadian Memorial Cross awarded in remembrance of Private Romolo del Monaco, alias Ronald Bowdon, 43rd (Cameron Highlanders of Canada) Battalion, and the son of the Count and Countess del Monaco, who was killed in action at the battle of Regina Trench on 8 October 1916 - Canadian Memorial Cross, G.V.R., the reverse officially inscribed, ‘151547 Pte. R. Bowdon’, very fine. Footnote: Romolo del Monaco was the son of Count Ireneo Paolo del Monaco and Countess Alice Elizabeth del Monaco, nee Bowdon. Under the alias of ‘Ronald Bowdon’, and giving his place and date of birth as Sheffield, 25 October 1893, and trade as Labourer, he enlisted into the 79th (Manitoba) Battalion at Brandon in November 1915. Subsequently transferred to the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders of Canada), he was killed in action on 8 October 1916 during the battles of Regina Trench and Ancre Heights. He was buried in the London Cemetery, Longueval. An interesting account of the recipient appeared under the title of From Riches to Rags, by Bob Clarke, in the Military Collectors’ Club of Canada Journal, Spring, 2010; sold with a copy of this, together with copied service papers. The use of an alis when enlisting into the military is not an unusual event and the Canadian expeditionary Force certainly has a number of enlistees who, for various reasons, provided recruiters with a false name and purposely inaccurate personal details. This Memorial cross is a prime example of this action. Born to such distinguished parents, one has to ponder why young Romolo and his brother Bernard immigrated to Durea, Manitoba to become labourers. On the outbreak of the Great War, Romolo and his brother both enlisted into the 79th Manitoba Battalion on November 1915, becoming 151547 Private R. Bowdon. On his attestation documents, Romolo identifies himself as Ronald Bowden, born 25 October 1893 in Sheffield, England, with next of kin his brother Henry Bowdon. His other brother enlists as 152910 Private Bernard Bowdon with his next of kin listed as his mother Alice del Monaco. Pte. Ronald Bowden, upon his arrival in England went AWL 26th May 1916 for half a day, resulting in forfeiture of pay. He was transferred to the 43rd Cameron Highlanders, 9th Brigade, 3rd Canadian Div. on 28 June 1916 and into the line July 7th 1916. On 8 October 1916 during the Battle of Ancre Heights and Regina Trench - the 3rd Division, attacking with as much vigor and determination as the 1st, had little success. The assaulting - found the wire mostly uncut and in the darkness of the early morning attack, what gaps had been made couldn'tt not be seen. Sadly, Pte. Ronald Bowden was a causality of this action, first reported missing in action on the day - July 14th 1917. For estate purposes, Countess del Monaco provided a Solemn Declaration wherein she declares that " I am the mother of No.151547 Private Ronald Bowden, 43rd Battn. CEF. and that his correct name was Romolo del Monaco and the he was born in Rome, Italy pm 26th October 1893.