b. 1939 West Ham, London.
DATE OF GM ACTION: 16/10/1964 Stepney, London.
Kenneth was born in 1939 in West Ham, the son of James Charles and Lily Lavinia Bowerman. After serving two years National Service with the Royal Air Force, Kenneth joined the Metropolitan Police in 1961 and was posted to Islington, North London.
In 1964, Kenneth married Diana Elizabeth Elliott at Rochford in Essex. They have two children. At this time in his career, Kenneth was attached to the CID based at the City Road Police Station. On 16th October 1964, in the Limehouse district, he was involved in the capture of a desperate armed criminal Walter “Angel Face” Probyn whereby he sustained an injury.
On 15th March 1966, Kenneth was presented with his George Medal by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace for his part in the arrest. Kenneth remained in the Metropolitan Police until retirement in 1992. He then became a security adviser until the age of 70 in 2009. On the 24th September 2015, Kenneth attended the 75th Anniversary of the Institution of the George Cross and George Medal at the Royal Chelsea Hospital. Kenneth currently resides in West Essex with his wife Diana.
Information was received by the Police that a dangerous escaped criminal would be at a certain address and police officers in plain clothes were sent to the vicinity to effect an arrest. Constables Whitham and Brown saw the criminal and his wife drive up in a car which they left and entered a shop. Several officers entered the shop and discovered the man and his wife on a flat roof over the front of the shop. They were called upon to give themselves up but moved to the roof of the next shop where the woman tripped over a wall. A constable grabbed her as she fell whereupon the man turned and fired a gun at the officers. A second shot was fired and then another in the direction of police in the street below. Constable Whitham had taken up position in a doorway of an adjoining shop and as the man and his wife emerged and started to run towards their car he struck the man with a broom which he had picked up. The man staggered but kept running and fired at Whitham and other officers who were following him. At this point Constable MacLeod rushed at the man and brought him down with a tackle but he broke loose and fired again. The woman reached the car but was overtaken by Sergeant Gibbins who pinned her against the side of the car. The criminal approached from the other side of the car and fired two shots over the roof in the direction of Gibbins. He then got into the car. Constable Brown who had picked up the broom used earlier, broke the glass of the driver’s window and attempted to strike the man but he was shot at through the window. The criminal then dived through the window into the street where Constable Bowerman grabbed him and hit him with a truncheon but was struck over the eye with the pistol barrel and the man ran off. He was pursued by other officers and overtaken by Sergeant Eyles who tackled him. The man turned and fired at Eyles from about two feet and broke away. Eyles and other officers continued the chase and Sergeant Robson caught up with him and tackled him but he kicked his way clear and jumped a fence into a back garden where he was finally caught and overpowered.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: HELD BY RECIPIENT.
Kenneth Bowerman GM – for all images on this page and for the biographical notes above.