Topic: Private James Alexander Lowe

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War who died of wounds.

Private James Alexander Lowe – 67309

James was born on 5 October 1895 at Rolleston, son of Edward and Sarah Jane Lowe. Before enlisting he was farming at Butts Valley, Heathcote. He had previous military experience with the Coastal Defense Force based at Lyttleton. He was 5ft 6in tall with a fresh complexion, dark blue eyes and brown hair.

He enlisted on 21 Sep 1917 and was assigned to C Company on 23 October. He was graded as C1 likely to become fit after special training because of a heart problem but a medical board found him fit for service on 16 November 1917. On 4 December he was transferred to the 35th Reinforcements. He was hospitalised for measles for six days between 26th and 31st January. On 29 January he was re-assigned to the 36th Reinforcements and he attested again at Featherstone on 11 March 1918 at Featherston. After training at Featherston he embarked on 2 May 1918 with the 36th Reinforcements, Canterbury Infantry, D Company on board the Balmoral Castle. He arrived in London on 21 June 1918 and marched into Sling Camp on the same day. Two months later he marched into Larkhill, 10 miles north of Salisbury. He left for France a month later with the Canterbury Infantry Battalion on 18 September and marched into Base Depot at Etaples the following day. He was posted to the 2nd Battalion, Canterbury Regiment on 23 September. Sadly fifteen days later he was wounded in the battle for Cambrai and died of his wounds. He was buried near where he died and the co-ordinates recorded but it was lost and his name is recorded on the Grevillers Memorial to the Missing, in the Grevillers British Cemetery, France. In New Zealand he is remembered on the Springston and Ashburton War Memorials.

CWGC Cemetery locale history: The Memorial commemorates almost 450 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the defensive fighting in the area from March to August 1918, and in the Advance to Victory between 8 August and 11 November 1918, and who have no known grave. This is one of seven memorials in France and Belgium to those New Zealand soldiers who died on the Western Front and whose graves are not known. The memorials are all in cemeteries chosen as appropriate to the fighting in which the men died. The village of Grevillers was occupied by Commonwealth troops on 14 March 1917 and in April and May, the 3rd, 29th and 3rd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations were posted nearby. They began the cemetery and continued to use it until March 1918, when Grevillers was lost to the German during their great advance. On the following 24 August, the New Zealand Division recaptured Grevillers and in September, the 34th, 49th and 56th Casualty Clearing Stations came to the village and used the cemetery again. After the Armistice, 200 graves were brought in from the battlefields to the south of the village, and 40 from an adjoining cemetery made during the German occupation, which no longer exists. There are now 2,106 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in Grevillers British Cemetery. 189 of the burials are unidentified but there are special memorials to 18 casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Other special memorials record the names of two casualties, buried in Avesnes-les-Bapaume German Cemetery, whose graves could not be found. The cemetery also contains the graves of seven Second World War airmen, and 18 French war graves. The cemetery and memorial were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

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Private James Alexander Lowe


First Names:James Alexander
Last Name:Lowe
Date of Birth:5 Oct 1895
Place of Birth:Rolleston
Date of Death:8 October 1918
Place of Death:France
Memorial or Cemetery:Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial
Age at death:23
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Farmer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:81/18
Regiment or Service:Canterbury Infantry Regiment
Country:New Zealand
Enlistment details:21 Sept 1917
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Edward and Sarah Jane Lowe, Mrs S. Lowe (mother), Butts Valley, Heathcote, Christchurch
Service Number:67809
Rank last held:Private
Embarkation:2 May 1918
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Balmoral Castle
Theatres of War:France
Cause of Death:Died of wounds