No.2686 Private John Alfred Lowman MM
John Alfred Lowman was born in July 1891 in Yarra Glen, about 40 kilometres north-east of Melbourne.
Both he and his father, Alfred Lowman, were working at the Metropolitan Farm, Werribee when war was declared in August 1914.
He joined up aged 24 on 5 January 1916 and was first sent to Geelong and then to Broadmeadows for basic training.
John Lowman was assigned to the 5th Reinforcements, 29th Battalion, AIF, formed in the aftermath of Gallipoli the previous year. The 29th Battalion left Melbourne for Egypt in mid-March. After further training, the Battalion was sent to France in August.
During the same month, John Lowman was attached to the 8th Australian Machine Gun Company, based at Montauban, about 10 kilometres east of Albert in the Somme.
On the night of 2 December 1916, Private John Alfred Lowman and his mates found themselves in Gusty Trench near Le Transloy, about 30kms south of Arras. It was his actions that night that were to result in him being awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in the field’.
The award was gazetted in February 1917 and read:
"His Majesty the King has been graciously please to award the Military Medal for bravery in the Field to the undermentioned soldier: No 2686 Private John Alfred Lowman."
A citation for his act of bravery is held on record at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It reads:
"On the night of 2/12/1916 while on duty in Gusty Trench this man displayed courage and coolness of a high order. A number of men were reported wounded in front of Gusty Trench and Lowman volunteered to bring them in under heavy barrage fire. While engaged in this work he was severely wounded, his right leg being shattered. He however refused assistance until all other men were safely collected. An officer of the 35th Bn in reporting the occurence states 'His courage and devotion to duty served as an example to all the men in Gusty Trench. Lowman is a very brave man'."
His bravery and selflessness also resulted in Private Lowman having his right leg amputated below the knee. Following treatment and convalescence in England, Private John Alfred Lowman MM returned to Australia in November 1917 and was discharged from service in February the following year.
After his military service ended, he returned to Werribee and his job at the Metropolitan Farm. He lived at Werribee all his life and died on 25 October 1962. He is buried in Werribee Cemetery.
Medals and Entitlements:
- Military Medal
- British War Medal
- Victory Medal
Service record: NAA: B2455, LOWMAN JOHN ALFRED
http://recordsearch.naa.gov.au/NameSearch/Interface/ItemDetail.aspx?Barcode=8211189 - military record, enlistment; service; n.o.k.
http://interactive.ancestrylibrary.com – Australian Electoral Roll 1954
http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1068767--18-.PDF - MM citation
http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11216.asp - 29th Battalion, AIF