George was born in Shifnal on 6 January 1890, the son of George and Harriett Bowen. He was living at 142 Patshull Road, Albrighton, in 1901. He became an engine cleaner with the Great Western Railway on 9 July 1906. He left on 4 March 1910 as he was rejected by the Medical Officer. He married Alice Evans in Wolverhampton in 1910. The couple had a daughter, Norah, in 1912.
On 9 July 1910, he enlisted with the Royal Navy (service number K/7676), serving first on the Victory II. He became a Stoker First Class and served on various ships, until the HMS Hampshire. On 5 June 1916, the ship struck a German mine west of Orkney, and sank, killing all but 12 men on board. An article in the Express & Star on 14 June 1916, which gives his address as 28 Prestwood Road, Wolverhampton, states that his wife had been hoping he was one of the survivors. However, this was not to be. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, as well as on the memorial at St Michael and All Angels Church in Tettenhall, and is presumably the G. W. Bowen on the Heath Park Memorial