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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 383

Three: Private H. Lowe, 1st Battalion, Essex Regiment, who died at Gallipoli on 15 November 1915, the day on which Winston Churchill resigned from the Cabinet on account of the campaign

1914-15 Star (20181 Pte. H. Lowe, Essex R.); British War and Victory Medals (20181 Pte. H. Lowe. Essex R.), nearly very fine (7)

Harry Lowe was born in Bradshaw, Lancashire, the son of Andrew and Abigail Lowe of Bradshaw Head Farm, Tollington. He arrived at Gallipoli on 19 September 1915 following the disastrous Battle of Krithia Vineyard a month before, where the 1st Essex, as part of the 88th Brigade were effectively destroyed as a fighting force; 50 were killed, 202 were wounded and a further 180 were reported missing.

From September to November a quieter period of stalemate ensued with sniping continuous on both sides; Major A. G. N. Wood, D.S.O., the Battalion Adjutant was killed in such a manner on 30 October. The weather compounded the difficulties, with the heat of September leading to a shortage of drinking water and dysentery soon caused significant reductions in the ranks. Eating became extremely difficult as unburied corpses became bloated and putrid; this corresponded with an explosion in the fly population.

By November, the weather had turned, with heavy rain and then blizzards which caused extensive frostbite and drowning. In Gallipoli 1915 the account of Sister Anne takes up the story:

'In that terrible weather, with wind travelling 100 miles an hour, and the rain and sleet, all seems so pitifully hopeless… during those fearful days our thoughts were constantly with the boys of the Peninsula and wondering how they were faring; but little did we realise the sufferings until the wind abated and they began to arrive with their poor feet and hands frostbitten. Thousands have been taken to Alexandria, hundreds, the boys say, were drowned because their feet were so paralysed they could not crawl away safely in time. They endured agonies. Sentries were found dead at their posts, frozen and still clutching their rifles… their fingers were too frozen to pull the trigger. And some we have in hospital are losing both feet, some both hands. It's all too sad for words, hopelessly sad.'

Lord Kitchener inspected positions at Helles, Anzac and Sulva from 12 to 14 November and quickly recognised that the positions were untenable and the 93,000 men on Gallipoli Peninsula should be evacuated. Lowe died on 15 November 1915 and is buried at Azmak Cemetery, Suvla.

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