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Bowman, Raymond J.

Date of birth:
April 2nd, 1924 (Rochester/New York, United States)
Date of death:
April 18th, 1945 (Leipzig/Saxony, Germany)
Nationality:
American

Biography

Raymond J. Bowman was born on April 2nd, 1924. He was enlisted on June 21st, 1943 and entered service on July 5th with the 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, with which unit he was sent to Europe in January 1944. Bowman reached the rank of Private 1st Class. He was killed in action on April 18th, 1945.

During the battle for Leipzig, Raymond Bowman and his unit were fighting in an appartment building to secure a bridge which was vital for the forces to cross. It was during this fighting that Raymond Bowman was killed. Together with this unit, photographer Robert Capa was there to take photos of the actions and he captured the killing of Bowman. This photo became famous with the caption "The picture of the last man to die". Only recently it became known that the killed private in the photo actually was Raymond J. Bowman.

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Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Awarded on:
August 3rd, 1944
Action:
Awarded for wounds received in action in France.
Purple Heart
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
Action:
Awarded for a deadly wound received on April 18th, 1945 in Leipzig, Germany.

Citation:
"For military merit and for wounds received in action resulting in his death April 18, 1945."
Details:
Second Purple Heart awarded in the form of a bronze oak leaf cluster to be placed on the ribbon of the first Purple Heart.
Awarded posthumously.
Purple Heart
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
Good Conduct Medal - Army
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
Action:
Awarded with four bronze campaign stars for "NORMANDY", "NORTHERN FRANCE", "ARDENNES" and "RHINELAND" and a bronze arrowehead for "NORMANDY" landing.
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
World War Two Victory Medal
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Combat Infantryman Badge
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
Action:
Awarded with clasp for "CARBINE".
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Sharpshooter Badge
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Rank:
Private 1st Class
Unit:
23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division
Awarded on:
July 4th, 1947
Action:
Awarded with clasp for "MACHINEGUN".
Details:
Awarded posthumously.
Marksman Badge
Period:
Second World War (1939-1945)
Action:
Received for meritorious achievement in ground operations against the enemy European Theater of Operations, during the Normandy Campaign.
Bronze Star  Medal (BSM)

Sources

  • Photo: Joan Faulknor Frost/Robert Capa
  • - Newspaper article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 4, 1947
    - Family Records

Photo