Rev. George Edwards ROWE

ROWE, George Edwards

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 1 April 1915, Brisbane, Queensland
Last Rank: Colonel
Last Unit: Chaplains
Born: Scorrier, Cornwall, England, 25 August 1858
Home Town: Brisbane, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Richmond College, England
Occupation: Methodist Clergyman
Died: Brisbane, Queensland, 27 October 1926, aged 68 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Toowong (Brisbane General) Cemetery
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World War 1 Service

1 Apr 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Brisbane, Queensland
16 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Officer, Chaplains
16 Apr 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Colonel, SN Officer, Chaplains, HMAT Kyarra, Brisbane
11 Aug 1915: Discharged AIF WW1

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Biography contributed by Sharyn Roberts

A CHAPLAIN FROM EGYPT
RETURN OF THE REV. G. E. ROWE.
TURKS' HORRIBLE BARBED WIRE.
WHAT THE AUSTRALIANS HAVE LEARNED.
Many old friends were delighted to welcome in Adelaide on Monday the genial presence of Chaplain-Colonel G. E. Rowe, of Queensland, who has been among the troops in Egypt, and is homeward bound as chaplain on the hospital ship Ballarat. The reverend gentleman, who labored in South Australia for years, is senior Methodist chaplain, of the northern State, his association with the military forces dating, back nearly 21 years. Mr. Rowe's frank and manly disposition has made him exceedingly popular with Australian troops of every denomination, and he reciprocates their regard with feelings of the warmest admiration for the many sterling qualities the men have displayed their cheery optimism under the most exacting circumstances, their signal courage and dash in warfare, and indomitable fortitude under the trial of wounds and sickness. Mr. Rowe's first task on arriving was to busy himself in obtaining comforts for the invalids he had left on the Ballarat. One of the greatest cravings of the men is for Australian news and pictures, and he was gratified at receiving from "The Advertiser" office a big bundle containing copies of "The Chronicle," as well as the daily paper. Another requirement was cigarettes, which were liberally provided through the kindly offices of Mr.J. A. Riley (one of the treasurers of' the Wounded Soldiers' Fund).
A Trying Climate.
Chaplain-Colonel Rowe was looking remarkably well after the sea voyage, and on mention of the fact said, .'Then I apparently show no traces of living for three months in a temperature ranging from 90 to 116 degrees in the shade. The climate of Egypt was undoubtedly very oppressive. The heat in the tents reached on some occasions as high as 130 degrees, necessitating the men in them keeping on their helmets to prevent sunstroke. The endurance of our lads, however, was splendid. Seldom did one hear a complaint about anything that could not be remedied.'' Mr. Rowe has brought back a most interesting compendium of his experiences with the forces,many fine photographs, and a collection of valuable souvenirs, but these he is anxious to hold in reserve for illustrated lectures he hopes to give in aid of the Sick and Wounded Soldiers' Fund. With the permission of the O.C.'s of the respective base hospitals he had views taken of the buildings, the wards, and other subjects of general interest. He had the privilege of interviews with the British advisers of the Egyptian Ministry, from whom he obtained a budget of useful information, and he also met Sir Murdoch MacDonald, the engineer who brought the Assouan dam to completion. Sir Murdoch supplied him with aset of fine views illustrative of the great irrigation work.- "Egypt," Mr. Rowe said, "is the Nile, and the Nile is Egypt. One understands by visiting the country the significance of the Scriptural saying, 'Wherever the river touched there was life.' Back from the river it is a vast, solitary desert."
With the Reinforcements
How long is it since you left Australia?Mr. Rowe was asked. "I was given the opportunity," he stated" to accompany the troops as chaplain on the Kyarra, which left Brisbane on April 16 for Egypt, conveying principally Queensland and New South Wales reinforcements for the different battalions. The voyage was uneventful. It is due to the men to state that the discipline was high!y comspendable. They were a fine body of soldiers in physique, and exemplary in their eagerness to reach the firing lines as quickly as possible. One and all seemed imbued by the same determination to do their best for the land of their birth and the honor of the flag."
War Against Barbed Wire.
You did not proceed actually to the front? "No," the chaplain replied, "that was not possible, but I have been among the men who were there, which," he added with a laugh, "was much safer. Just imagine me trying to break through one of the entanglements with which the Turks sought to stop them! I am afraid I would have been brought to a very abrupt stop."Mr. Rowe produced a specimen of the barbed wire used by the enemy in their preparations to check the advance. Those who have seen only the familiar fencing article used in Australian farm paddocks can have no conception of the difference between the comparatively innocent barb that is and the bristling cruelty of the Ottoman product. In a space of about two inches there protruded no fewer than 11 long and horrible spikes. A trench protected by such wire would indeed be a formidable barrier to pass. It is in the face of such obstacles that the Australian troops have been pressing forward so valiantly for the last three months.

Australian General Hospitals.
Your work in Egypt was no doubt largely among the base Hospitals?
"Yes; but while in Cairo I had the privilege of conducting church parades, at Zeitoun camp, which was on the original site of the city of On, mentioned in the Bible, from which place Joseph, who served under Pharaoh, selected his wife. Other church parades I held were at Luna Park. I visited the hospitals at Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez, and was much impressed by the preparations made for the treatment of the sick and wounded. South Australia has just cause to be proud of No. 1 general hospital at Heliopolis, of which Colonel Ramsay Smith is the officer commanding. Sir "Frederick Treves, the eminent surgeon, who visited and investigated these institutions, wrote eulogistically of the organisation and management under that distinguished officer. (A copy of Sir Frederick's letter appears in this issue.) The sick and wounded were the most cheerful company of men it has ever been my pleasure to meet. No. 2 general hospital is under Colonel Martin, of Sydney. It was formerly the Gezeira Palace Hotel, built as a residence by a former Khedive. Concerning it Sir Frederick Treves also expressed high appreciation. In an Alexandra hospital I saw a number of Indian soldiers who hadfought at Neuve Chapelle. They seemed very pleased to meet An Australian officer, and were as keen upon the defence and triumph of the Empire as one could possibly desire."
Those Who Have Suffered.
And the men who fought at Gaba Tepe?" I saw the brave fellows who had been wounded arriving from Gallipoli and being en trained for the various hospitals . Such scenes were extremely pathetic and thrilling, and indicated the tremendous price that is being paid for the maintenance f our liberties. On board the Ballarat we had specimen cases of nearly all the casualties, apart from fatalities, in connection with the war. There were men who had lost an eye - one had sacrificed both eyes -or a leg, an arm, a hand, or a foot. Some were suffering from concussion, some from nervous shock, and some, unfortunately, were demented as a result of the terrible experiences they bad passed through. Many of them still had bullets which have now been extracted. One man, Bugler O'Connell, of Melbourne, whose father lives in Adelaide, has no fewer than five bullets in him, a sixth having been removed. At any time during the voyage when the war cry, 'Are we downhearted?' was raised, there always came the stentorian shout, 'No!No! No!' Smiles, however, often hide tears, and shouts do but deaden sobs. I think there was a good deal of that in it, and all such men deserve the very best Australia can give them. They have not flinched in the time of extreme danger, but have stood up like heroes. A British officer in Cairo told me he had heard from one of the English generals that no disciplined troops could have undertaken the peculiar task set for the Australians at Gaba Tepe on April 25-the word 'disciplined' I took to be used in the sense of seasoned regulars."

Exceptions Do Not Count.
You have heard of the trouble due to areport that there were exceptions to thegreat body of those who went forth fromAustralia with no idea but to do theirduty?
"No exceptions," said Mr. Rowe, "must detract from the honor due to the men who bore the brunt of the battle and who have given Australia the proud name she now holds among the nations. Reverting to the experiences our troops have had in foreign parts, one cannot help feeling that those who are coming back bring with them a deepened respect for Australia and for its liberties and institutions. After what they have seen in Egypt they possess, I am sure, a better realisation of the priceless and inestimable blessings they enjoy under the Southern Cross. At the same time there is not a man who is fit for anything who is not anxious to go back into the firing line."
Overworked Army Chaplains.
Asked whether he had encountered any of the South Australian chaplains. Mr. Rowe said he had met Chaplain-Colonel G.W. Kendrew, who at the No. 1 general hospital was working incessantly for the welfare of the sick and wounded. He had also seen Chaplain-Captains Moore and McGrath. Among the gatherings he attended was a chaplains' conference, held under the presidency of Major-General Spends, an English officer. It was evident from what was said that the chaplains were doing their utmost to minister to the spiritual needs of the soldiers in camp and in the many hospitals of Cairo and district. There was no denying the fact that they were overworked, and more were needed to meet the demands made upon them. Chaplain-Colonel Rowe is leaving today by the Ballarat for Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane.

The Advertiser Wednesday August 1915 page 9

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Biography

"DEATH OF THE REV. DR. ROWE. A NOTABLE CAREER.

A host of personal friends and Method- ists throughout Australia will learn with deep regret that the Rev. Dr. George E. Rowe, superintendent minister of the Albert-street Methodist Church, died suddenly on October 27. Dr. Rowe had been attending the Methodiat Synod at Nundah, and subsequently made a call on a sick parishioner. After leaving the home of this resident he complained of being very unwell, and was conveyed by a friend back to the parishioner's residence, where he died shortly afterwards. The late Rev. Dr. Rowe, who was 68 years of age, was born in Scorrier, Cornwall, on August 26, 1858, of humble parents. He received his early training at one of the English Wesleyin Colleges, and came out to Australia as a very young man. His first appointment was to South Australia in 1881, and after spending several years in leading South Australian circuits he was transferred to Western Australia at the time that the gold rush occurred in that State. He was appointed to the Perth circuit, where he spent 13 years, and where he built a fine church and a splendid block of buildings that stand to-day as a monument to his organising ability. It was while he was engaged in the Western State that he inaugurated the Sisters of the People, and during the epidemic of typhoid that spread throughout the country he sent Sisters to every part of the State to nurse the people. He was elected first President of the West Australian Methodist Conference in 1900. His mission work in Western Australia was very successful, and in 1905 he received an invitation to become superintendent of the Central Methodist Mission, Albert-street, Brisbane. His work in that church is well known throughout Queensland, and its progress was steadily maintained during the 20½ years that he ministered there. His love for his church was deep-rooted and true. One of his ambitions was to see it clear of debt, and he lived to see that accomplished last Sunday, when the 79th anniversary of the church was celebrated." - from the Queenslander 06 Nov 1926 (nla.gov.au)

 

The Rev. Dr. George E. Rowe was buried in the Toowong Cemetery

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