LOW, William
(Service number 52626)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank


Date 23 February 1891 Place of Birth Mains, Forfarshire (Angus), Scotland

Enlistment Information

Date 13 March 1917 Age 25 years
Address at Enlistment 593 Madras Street, St Albans, Christchurch
Occupation Joiner
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin Mrs B. LOW (mother), 593 Madras Street, StAlbans, Timaru; C/o Mrs R. ANDERSON, 71 Victoria Street, Timaru
Religion Presbyterian
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Reinforcemnets, J Company
Date 16 July 1917
Transport Athenic
Embarked From Destination Liverpool, Merseyside,England
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations



Date 25 May 1949 Age 58 years
Place of Death Christchurch
Memorial or Cemetery
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

William Low, known as Willie, was born on 23 February 1891 at Mains, Forfarshire (Angus), Scotland, the third son of William and Betsy (née Laird) Low. In 1891, one month old William was at home with his parents and older sibling at Mains, Angus, Scotland. By 1901 the family had moved to Dundee, and Willie was a scholar. It may have been soon after 1901 when the family emigrated to New Zealand. The eldest son, Thomas Laird Low, was residing in Christchurch in 1905, and he married there in 1908. The second son, George Low, married in 1906 in New Zealand. As of 1911, Mr and Mrs Low were in Timaru, their three daughters with them. In 1914, their son William was also residing with them. Their youngest daughter, Marguerite (Maggie) May Low, married at Chalmers Church, Timaru, in 1913. Their second daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Laird Low, married in 1914, and lived thereafter at Timaru.

When William enlisted in early 1917, he stated that he and his parents, all born in Scotland, had been in New Zealand for 11 years. William named his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs B. Low, 593 Madras Street, St Albans, Christchurch, and later care of Mrs R. Anderson, 71 Victoria Street, Timaru. Mrs R. Anderson was William’s sister, Lizzie Laird Low. William was a joiner, which trade he resumed after the war, single, and Presbyterian. Rifleman W. Low embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, leaving for Liverpool on 16 July 1917 by the “Athenic”. In late September 1917, his mother, of Victoria Street, Timaru, received a cable from William, stating that he had arrived safely in England on 21 September.

William Low returned to New Zealand per the “Carpentaria”, arriving from Lyttelton at Timaru by special train on 19 May 1919. On arrival the soldiers were given a hearty reception, the Mayor extending the heartiest of welcomes on behalf of the citizens of Timaru. “He hoped they would soon forsake the uniform for civilian clothes, take up civilian duties, and he was sure they would be as successful as they had been at the front.” .

William married Irene Gertrude Hathaway of Timaru in 1919. Irene’s brothers, Alfred Denny Hathaway and Philip Henry Hathaway, had also served in the war, and Philip returned with William on the “Carpentaria”. William and Irene lived in Christchurch, apart from a spell in Napier and another in Timaru just prior to his death. He died on 25 May 1949 at Christchurch, aged 58 years. At his death, his widow Irene was “the only person interested in the distribution of the Estate”. Their only children had both died at birth. Mrs Betsy Laird Low, who died in October 1919 at her Timaru residence, aged 68 years, and Mr William Elder Low, who died in September 1926 at Timaru, aged 72 years, are buried in the Timaru Cemetery. His brother, James Laird Low, also served with the New Zealand Forces.


Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [24 April 2021]; Timaru Herald, 12 December 1908, 26 April 1913, 23 May 1913, 28 September 1917, 7 & 20 May, 4 October 1919, 2 & 14 September 1926 (Papers Past) [07 April 20215; 24 & 26 April 2021]; 1891 & 1901 census returns for Scotland ( [24 April 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [24 & 26 April 2021]

External Links

Related Documents

No documents available. 

Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Logo. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.

Tell us more

Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!

Your Details
Veteran Details
- you may attach an image or document up to 10MB