William Eric Bowes was an English professional cricketer active from 1929 to 1947 who played in 372 first-class matches as a right arm fast bowler and a right-handed tail end batsman. He took 1,639 wickets with a best performance of nine for 121 and completed ten wickets in a match 27 times. He scored 1,531 runs with a highest score of 43* and is one of very few major players whose career total of wickets taken exceeded his career total of runs scored. He did not rate himself as a fielder but he nevertheless held 138 catches.
Bowes played for Yorkshire and Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He was a member of the ground staff at MCC for ten seasons and they had priority of selection, which meant he played against Yorkshire for them and he did not play against MCC until 1938. He made fifteen appearances for England in Test cricket and took part in the 1932–33 Bodyline series. He took 68 Test wickets at the creditable average of 22.33 with a best performance of six for 33. Bowes represented Yorkshire in thirteen County Championship seasons, his career being interrupted by the Second World War, and the team won the championship eight times in that period, largely due to their strong attack which was led by Hedley Verity and himself.
During the war, Bowes was commissioned in the British Army as a gunnery officer and served in North Africa until he was captured, along with over 30,000 other Allied troops, after the fall of Tobruk in June 1942. He spent three years in Italian and German prisoner-of-war camps and lost over four stone in weight. He continued playing for two seasons after the war but, weakened by his experiences, could only bowl at medium pace. After he retired from playing, he became a coach with Yorkshire and worked for The Yorkshire Post as a cricket writer. He was born in Elland, West Yorkshire, and died in Otley, West Yorkshire, aged 79.