|10 Nov 2020
JOHN BOWDEN 1948-1956
John Irving Bowden – Head Boy 1955/1956
Died 26th April 2020 – Age 82
John was born on 23rd December 1937 in Upminster and he was evacuated to Lytham St Anne’s, Lancashire during the war years, where his father as a civil Servant was moved to when the Government moved out of London. After the war the family moved back to their home in Upminster in 1947 and he won a Foundation Scholarship to Brentwood in 1948.
On leaving school, John decided not to take up a place at Exeter University but to join an apprentice scheme at Fords Motor Company Head Office to train to become an Accountant and duly became a qualified Accountant in 1962.
In the late 60’s he was head-hunted by Plessey and became the Corporate Development Executive, where he travelled extensively to expand Plessey’s international reach – amongst others – Egypt, South Africa and the United States and moved Plessey’s business strategy into defence and engineering.
In 1985 he found himself as the Head of the Defence team when GEC made a hostile takeover bid for the Plessey company. The potential takeover became a fiercely fought battle well reported in financial journals with Plessey strongly resisting the hostile bid. After highlighting security issues and with the help of the Ministry of Defence John received the support of the Monopolies & Mergers Commission and the bid was blocked by the Government. However, GEC came back three years later for a second time in 1988 and John found himself again fighting off another hostile bid. Despite strenuous objections from Plessey, this time the Monopolies & Mergers Commission agreed that the bid could go ahead and the takeover completed in 1989. It was then John resigned and set up his own successful Corporate Advisory company, Bowden Davies.
At school, he was 1st X1 Cricket Captain and 1st X1 in football. He carried on after leaving Brentwood School playing both sports and in particular, his love of cricket which he played in later life as Captain of Cranston Park Cricket Club, finally retiring in 2013 aged 75, with some high scores particularly against Billericay. He was ably supported in the Cricket Club by fellow Old Brentwoods brothers Robert Bowden (54/60) and William Bowden (54/59), Dick Keegan (51/59) and Neil Taylor (53/59).
He married Shirley Brown in September 1960 and they had a daughter, Sarah, born in 1964 and a son, Andrew in 1967. The marriage ended in the 70’s and he married Ann Legon (nee Clegg) in 1977 who had two sons, Ashley and Adrian by her previous marriage.
John Irving Bowden is survived by Shirley and his children Sarah and Andrew and Ann and her children Ashley and Adrian and nine grandchildren and his brothers, Robert and William.