Topic: James Alexander Lowe

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James Alexander Lowe (Service no. 67809) was as First World War soldier with links to Heathcote.

James Lowe was born on 5 October 1895 in Rolleston, the youngest child (of nine) of Edward and Sarah Jane Thomson. His father Edward had died four days before his birth.

James' grandparents Levi and Matilda Lowe immigrated to New Zealand in 1859 on the Clontarf with their 5 children Eli, Mary Ann, Edward, Thomas and John. James' uncle, Levi, was their only child born in New Zealand. The family came from Staffordshire, England. In New Zealand they lived in Rolleston.

Edward Lowe married Sarah Jane Thomson on 3 May 1880 at Weedons. They became the parents of nine children; Sarah Jane (1881), Florence Matilda (1882), William Edward (1883), Thomas Henry (1885), John (1886), Louisa Rebecca (1888), George Frederick (1892), Ada May (1894) and James Alexander (1895). 

At the time of his enlistment James had been working as a farmer in Butts Valley, Heathcote. He is described in his service file as being 5 ft. 6 inches tall with dark blue eyes and brown hair.

He belonged to the Coastal Defence Team at Lyttelton.
While at training at Featherston Camp in Janu1ry 1918, James contracted measles.

He embarked for overseas service on 24 April 1918 on board the Balmoral Castle bound for Sling Camp and then on to service in France in September 1918
James was 23 years old when he died on 8 October 1918 of wounds received in France.

He is remembered on the Grevillers (New Zealand) Memorial, Grevillers British Cemetery, Pas-de-Calais, France, and the Heathcote War Memorial.

James' elder brothers George (Service no. 45705) and  John (Service no. 61317) also served during the war but unlike James they survived.

James' sister Louisa and her husband Herbert Bulmer remembered "our dear brother" with a poignant poem in the newspaper;

"In a lonely grave in a far-off land. 
A grave we may never see;
But as long as life and memory last
We will remember thee."

Related resources

  • Online Ceontaph record for James Lowe. Auckland War Memorial Museum
  • Military personnel file for James Lowe. Archives New Zealand (Archway)
  • HEATHCOTE NOTES. Star, Issue 12459, 26 October 1918


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James Alexander Lowe

First Names:James Alexander
Last Name:Lowe
Place of Birth:Rolleston, Canterbury