John Lewes Davison GOWER

Poppy

GOWER, John Lewes Davison

Service Number: 332
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Morphettville, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Blakiston, South Australia, 14 October 1885
Home Town: Littlehampton, Mount Barker, South Australia
Schooling: St Peter's College, Adelaide, South Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed In Action, Gallipoli, Dardanelles, Turkey, 25 April 1915, aged 29 years
Cemetery: No known grave - "Known Unto God"
Lone Pine Memorial, Gallipoli Peninsula, Canakkale Province, Turkey
Memorials: Adelaide Elder Smith & Co Limited WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Hackney St Peter's College Fallen Honour Board, Littlehampton Honour Roll, Lone Pine Memorial to the Missing, Mount Barker Soldiers' Memorial Hospital Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Morphettville, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 332, 10th Infantry Battalion, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 332, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide

More about John

John Gower was born at Blakiston near Littlehampton in the Adelaide hills. He received his early education at the Blakiston School and later attended the Hahndorf College before completing his education at the Collegiate School of St Peter.
Prior to the war John was a clerk in the firm of Elder, Smith, & Company and since his father was a minister, he and his parents were well known in the small towns throughout the Adelaide Hills.
He enlisted at Morphettville on 18 August 1914 and was posted to E Company, 10th Battalion which at the time was commanded by a Prince Alfred College Old Scholar Captain Edward Castle Oldham. The highly respected (‘Old Red’) Captain Oldham, was well known for he had trained so many of the men when they were cadets at ‘Saints’ and ‘PAC.’
Captain Oldham was promoted to major and in command of B Company when they landed from the Prince of Wales on 25 April 1915; B Company was badly knocked about during the chaotic events of that first day with all the officers save one being wounded or like Major Oldham killed outright.
Private Gower was with E Company aboard the Ascanius when she left Adelaide in October, but in January at Mena Camp when C and E companies merged to become the new B Company, Gower joined the battalion scouts.
A number of the scouts were wounded or killed after reaching the beach, or as they attempted to push inland and among the dead was John Gower; he was 29 years of age.
John’s father had died in Adelaide five days prior to the landing and since news travelled slowly then it is unlikely John would have been aware of his father’s death.
One cannot imagine the terrible burden of grief placed upon Mrs Elizabeth Gower when, so soon after the death of her husband, she received official notification that her beloved son had been killed in action.
When Elizabeth died in 1943, she was buried next to her husband in the old St James’ Church cemetery at Blakiston; their son is commemorated on the headstone.
In a letter to John’s sister dated 2 September 1915, Captain Harold Seager told her he had ascertained her brother had landed with the Scouts but at about 8.30 a.m., had returned and joined B Company.
At 9 a.m., John, as part of a screen, had been sent forward a short distance in front of the company to provide protection and early warning while they began digging in. Shortly after the screen moved out the Turks brought heavy fire to bear forcing them to retire, but John did not return. Some of the men who had gone out with him on the screen believed he was hit while trying to make his way back in.
He failed to return with the others, and his comrades are inclined to think he was hit while returning. I am afraid that if he had been wounded and taken prisoner we would have heard before this…
Captain Seager assured Mrs Gower that the Turks fought fairly and believed if her son had been taken prisoner they would have treated him well; he enclosed the contact details for a friend of John’s who had been out on the screen with him.

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Biography

From the book Fallen Saints

John Lewes Davison Gower was born at Blakiston near Littlehampton in the Adelaide hills. He received his early education at the Blakiston School and later attended the Hahndorf College before completing his education at the Collegiate School of St Peter.

 Prior to the war John was a clerk in the firm of Elder, Smith, & Company and since his father was a minister, he and his parents were well known in the small towns throughout the Adelaide Hills.

He enlisted at Morphettville on 18 August 1914 and was posted to E Company, 10th Battalion which at the time was commanded by a Prince Alfred College Old Scholar Captain Edward Castle Oldham. The highly respected (‘Old Red’) Captain Oldham, was well known for he had trained so many of the men when they were cadets at ‘Saints’ and ‘PAC.’

Captain Oldham was promoted to major and in command of B Company when they landed from the Prince of Wales on 25 April 1915; B Company was badly knocked about during the chaotic events of that first day with all the officers save one being wounded or like Major Oldham killed outright. [1] 

Private Gower was with E Company aboard the Ascanius when she left Adelaide in October, but in January at Mena Camp when C and E companies merged to become the new B Company, Gower joined the battalion scouts. [2]

A number of the scouts were wounded or killed after reaching the beach, or as they attempted to push inland and among the dead was John Gower; he was 29 years of age. 

John’s father had died in Adelaide five days prior to the landing and since news travelled slowly then it is unlikely John would have been aware of his father’s death.

One cannot imagine the terrible burden of grief placed upon Mrs Elizabeth Gower when, so soon after the death of her husband, she received official notification that her beloved son had been killed in action.

When Elizabeth died in 1943, she was buried next to her husband in the old St James’ Church cemetery at Blakiston; their son is commemorated on the headstone.

In a letter to John’s sister dated 2 September 1915, Captain Harold Seager told her he had ascertained her brother had landed with the Scouts but at about 8.30 a.m., had returned and joined B Company.

At 9 a.m., John, as part of a screen, had been sent forward a short distance in front of the company to provide protection and early warning while they began digging in. Shortly after the screen moved out the Turks brought heavy fire to bear forcing them to retire, but John did not return. Some of the men who had gone out with him on the screen believed he was hit while trying to make his way back in.   

He failed to return with the others, and his comrades are inclined to think he was hit while returning. I am afraid that if he had been wounded and taken prisoner we would have heard before this… [i]

Captain Seager assured Mrs Gower that the Turks fought fairly and believed if her son had been taken prisoner they would have treated him well; he enclosed the contact details for a friend of John’s who had been out on the screen with him.  



[1] Major Oldham’s brother Dudley (OS) was KIA 1917
[2] On the 1 January the War Office declared the eight-company battalion organisation was to be disbanded and replaced with a more efficient organisation comprised of a Headquarters, Machine Gun Section and only four rifle companies, ‘A’–‘D’ Companies.

 

 

 

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