(Service number 52626)
|First Rank||Rifleman||Last Rank|
|Date||23 February 1891||Place of Birth||Mains, Forfarshire (Angus), Scotland|
|Date||13 March 1917||Age||25 years|
|Address at Enlistment||593 Madras Street, St Albans, Christchurch|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Mrs B. LOW (mother), 593 Madras Street, StAlbans, Timaru; C/o Mrs R. ANDERSON, 71 Victoria Street, Timaru|
|Served with||NZ Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Rifle Brigade|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||Reinforcemnets, J Company|
|Date||16 July 1917|
|Embarked From||Destination||Liverpool, Merseyside,England|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
|Date||25 May 1949||Age||58 years|
|Place of Death||Christchurch|
|Memorial or Cemetery|
|New Zealand Memorials|
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 (ancestry.com.au) [24 April 2021]; NZ Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [24 & 26 April 2021]
No documents available.
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
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