The son of Nicholas and Katherine Bawlf, Louis Drummond Bawlf was one of eight children. His father, a wealthy grain merchant in Winnipeg, died suddenly in 1914.
Lieutenant Bawlf served with the 144th Infantry Battalion (Winnipeg Rifles) before he transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service on 23 December 1916. Posted to 3 Naval Squadron (later 203 Squadron) in the spring of 1917, he scored five victories as a Sopwith Camel pilot. His brother, David Leland Bawlf, also a member of 203 Squadron, was killed in action on 21 April 1918. On 12 September 1918, while on furlough in Canada, he married Miss Jean Mae McGinnis in Montreal. Bawlf served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.