David (Dave) LOW

Poppy

LOW, David

Service Number: 553
Enlisted: 9 July 1915, Keswick, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 32nd Infantry Battalion
Born: North Adelaide, South Australia, 6 April 1887
Home Town: Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Machinist (Islington Govt. workshops)
Died: Died of wounds, Edmonton Military Hospital, England, 4 August 1916, aged 29 years
Cemetery: Tottenham Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Scott's Creek and Longwood Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

9 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, Keswick, South Australia
18 Nov 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Nov 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, 32nd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Geelong, Adelaide
19 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 553, 32nd Infantry Battalion, Fromelles (Fleurbaix), GSW (right shoulder, left thigh)

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Biography

David Low was born on the 6th April 1887 at North Adelaide, South Australia, to parents David and Helen (nee Malcolm) Low. He had one brother, George Steven Low who was two years younger.

The family spent some years living in Broken Hill, NSW, where David played football for North Football Club. His father was elected Chief of Broken Hill Caledonian Society in 1912. At some time prior David had returned to Adelaide and was playing football for West Torrens. In 1912, at the age of 24 he was awarded the Magarey Medal, he was renowned for his fair play and consistency, the best backman in the league.  

David enlisted at Keswick, South Australia, on the 9th July 1915. At the time of enlistment he was employed at the Islington Government Workshops as a Machinist. He was aged 28 and described as 5' 8 3/4" in height, fresh complexion, hazel eyes and dark hair. He was single and listed his mother as NOK. Before he embarked overseas he married Augustine Margaret Colgan at St. Peters, South Australia, on the 23rd October 1915.

David initially joined M Group Base Infantry, under the rank of Private and on the 16th August he joined the 32nd Battalion, B Coy. His Battalion embarked from Adelaide, South Australia, on board HMAT A2 Geelong on the 18th November 1915 disembarking at Suez, Egypt, on the 16th December 1915. While based in Egypt David was admitted to the 15th Field Ambulance on the 9th May 1916 suffering from Influenza, rejoining his Battalion on the 18th May. While based at Moascar, Egypt on the 7th June David was AWOL for 1 1/2 hours and forfeited 3 days pay.

On the 17th June the Battalion embarked from Alexandria, Egypt, on board the ship Transylvania, disembarking in Marseilles, France on the 23rd June 1916. The 32nd Battalion were involved in the Battle of Fromelles and on the 19th July David sustained a gun shot wound to the left shoulder and right thigh. He was admitted to the 7th Ambulance Train on the 20th July and on the following day was transported to the hospital at Wimereux, France. On the 22nd July he was transported to Boulogne, France and placed aboard the ship St. David to be transferred to England where on arrival he was admitted to Alexandria East Ward, Edmonton Military Hospital, Silver Street, Upper Edmonton, London. He died of his wounds on the 4th August 1916.

According to a letter dated the 24th January 1917, written by nursing staff on Alexandria East Ward to David's grandmother, Mrs Low, David appeared fairly comfortable and was always happy and cheerful up to about three days before his death. Gas gangrene set in and they then realised that his case was hopeless. He was conscious up to a few minutes before his death.

An article in The Advertiser Newspaper, South Australia dated Tuesday 12th September 1916, page 8, referred to a letter written by Private TW Rigney (Thomas Wilfred, 32nd Battalion) to his mother stated he had been injured whilst fighting the Prussian Guard on the 19th July 1916 and that he and another soldier and David Low, had jumped over the parapat together and after that he did not see them again.

David's mother received a newspaper cutting from England reporting that over 50 wounded soldiers from the Edmonton Military Hospital attended the funeral of Private David Low, a well-known Australian footballer. The last mark of respect was a tribute to his great popularity. He was held in great respect in Adelaide.

David Low was initially buried at Heroes Corner, Grave No. 7331 at Tottenham Cemetery but on the 20th April 1920 his widow was informed the body had been exhumed from that grave and re-interred into Grave No. 7318.

Grave No. 7318 is a public (or common) grave which due to the existence of other bodies buried in the grave the cemetery does not allow headstones to be errected. 

Private David Low has his name on the screen wall at Tottenham Cemetery but has not been allowed the honour of commemorating his sacrifice and existence with a headstone.

He was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal

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"DEATH OF A CHAMPION FOOTBALLER.

Much regret will be expressed at the death of Private "Dave" Low at the front. His mother was informed of the sad event by the defence authorities on August 14. His death will be lamented by the football public, not only in this State, but all over the Commonwealth, as he was a brilliant exponent of the pastime, and one of the finest back men Australia ever had. He came from Broken Hill to Adelaide several years ago at the instance of Mr. J. Andrews, and threw in his lot with the West Torrens club, remaining with it until he enlisted about a year ago. He played in inter-State matches on several occasions, and was a member of the carnival team that visited New South Wales in 1914. In 1911 he was awarded the Magarey medal for the fairest and most brilliant player in the league. He was employed at the Islington workshops, and left that position to enlist. Private Low was a good fellow, and had a wide circle of friends. He was a gentleman both on the field and off it."from the Adelaide Chronicle 19 August 1916 (nla.gov.au)

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