No.3914 Lieutenant Edward Albert Towe
Edward Albert Towe (Tow) was born in 1891 at Foster, Victoria to Joseph Tow and Matilda Martha Rock. * #
Joseph and Matilda had five children:
- Robert George Tow - born at Werribee, 1892/37405
- Richard Daniel Tow - born at Footscray, 1894/12003: died Footscray 1896/13389
- James Tow - born at Footscray, 1896/27899 (A.I.F. No. 3268, K.I.A. in France 1917)
- Rose Victoria Violet Tow - born at Footscray, 1899/26668
- Edward Albert Tow - born at Foster, 1891/3438 (A.I.F. No.3914)
At some time after their children were born, the Tow surname changed to Towe.
The family lived in Coronation Street on the Queensville Estate, West Footscray, and were one of the first families to move there.
Edward had previous military service in the Victorian militia, with the 57th Infantry.
Extract from the police Gazette shows that he went missing "From the R.A.G.A. at Queenscliff. - Towe, Edward Albert, gunner, 22, 10-12 years, 5’ 7 half high, sallow complexion, brown hair, grey eyes, 3 vac marks on right arm, scar on left leg"
Victoria Police Gazette 1915.
These physical details match his A.I.F. enlistment form.
Edward Towe enlisted in the A.I.F. at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne on 22 October 1915, and was sent to the 23rd Depot Battalion at Royal Park. He remained there until 17 December 1915, when he was transferred to the 9th Battalion's 24th Reinforcements as an Acting Corporal.
Aged 21 years, A/Cpl Edward Towe embarked at Melbourne on 8 February 1916 per H.M.A.T. Warilda A69, as a member of the 8th Reinforcements for the 6th Infantry Brigade, 24th Infantry Battalion.
After a short time in Egypt, he then embarked for France on 21 March 1916.
On 28 March 1916, he disembarked at Marseilles, and joined the 6th Battalion "In the Field". At that time he reverted in rank, back to Private.
One month later, on 27 April 1916, he was admitted to 26th General Hospital at Etaples with a fractured wrist. In need of further treatment, he was then evacuated to England, and was admitted to the 3rd London General Hospital on 17 May 1916.
It was at this time that his brother James Towe was killed in action at Fromelles in France (K.I.A. 19 July 1916).
After almost three months of treatment, Edward was discharged from hospital on 20 July 1916, and transferred to No.2 Commonwealth Depot at Weymouth.
On 10 September 1916 he was able to rejoin his Battalion in France.
Private Towe was appointed to the rank of Lance Corporal on 31 March 1917, and six months later, on 4 October 1917, was promoted to Corporal.
His abilities as a soldier were recognised, and he was then selected for Officer Training. On 20 April 1918 he proceeded to England, and attended No.2 Officers Cadet Battalion at Cambridge. On his arrival he was classified as a Cadet.
The comments and remarks on his application for a commission included:
"Very popular. Will get good work out of his men."
"A very fine Bomber."
"A good sound practical man."
Cadet Towe was undergoing training when the Armistice was declared on 11 November 1918, and he continued his studies.
One week after the Armistice, Corporal Edward Albert Towe (an A.I.F. Cadet at the EmmanuelCollege, Cambridge) married Rose Parker of Histon, at the Cambridge Registration Office on 20 November 1918.
[His marriage certificate is on file in his service record.]
After graduating on 14 December 1918, he was appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant and posted to the General Infantry Reinforcements.
Two months later, on 9 February 1919, he was taken on strength with the 6th Battalion in France. Then on 14 March 1919 he was appointed as Lieutenant.
On 18 April 1919, Lieutenant Towe returned to Southampton and marched in to the No.1 Group at Longbridge Deverell, to wait for a passage back to Australia.
He embarked on 4 June 1919 per S.S. Bremen, and arrived in Melbourne on 25 July 1919. On 29 September 1919, his appointment terminated from the A.I.F. at Melbourne. His discharge papers mention that he was suffering with injuries to both of his knees.
On 1 January 1920, Edward Towe was appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant, in the Reserve of Officers.
Returning to civilian life, Edward Albert Towe was recorded on the 1922 Electoral Roll as a labourer, living at 20 Warleigh Road, Footscray North.
In 1925 Rosalie Towe, his wife, embarked at Melbourne to return to England and visit her mother at Heston in Cambridge.
ancestry.com – U.K. Incoming Passenger Lists for 1925.
She arrived at London on 6 June 1925 per S.S. Balranald.
On 11 February 1926, Rosalie embarked from London per S.S. Berrima, to return to Melbourne.
ancestry.com – U.K. Outward Passenger Lists
In 1927, Edward Albert Towe and Rosalie Towe were recorded on the Electoral Roll as living at 72 Rupert Street, Footscray North.
Edward Albert Towe died at his home in Main Street, Warburton, on 21 July 1930.
Medals and Entitlements:
- British War Medal - No.34765
- Victory Medal - No. 34520
Name on the Werribee Shire Oak Board: TOWE, E
Name "Towe, E. from West Footscray" first appeared in the Roll of Honor, Werribee Shire Banner, 13 February 1919, p.3.
Corporal Edward Albert Towe and his brother are mentioned in A distinctive 'wedge' in the West : a history of Kingsville until 1930, by Dr Emma Curtin and Tony Kelleher, on p.55.
* ancestry.com – Tow Family Tree
# Federation Index, Victoria 1889-1901
Unit War Diary
Pioneer Index 1837-1888 CD
Federation Index 1889-1901 CD
Edwardian Index 1902-1913 CD
Great War Index 1914-1920 CD
Marriage Index 1921-1942 CD