To this end, I am concentrating my writing of two of these young men. They are my Paternal Uncles Sgt Walter Harold Lowing MM [1879-1916] and Major Bertie McAdam Lowing MC and Bar [1891-1937].
Both Walter and Bertie, with their Father William Alfred Lowing, along with their father’s friend Henry [Harry] Harbor Morant, joined the New South Wales Mounted Horse and left for the South African War, where they served; both young men were awarded the Queen’s & King’s South Africa Medals.
In 1914, Walter and Bertie joined the 1st AIF and served at Gallipoli in the 6th Light Horse Regiment; Walter then was sent to the Western front, where he served with gallantry and was awarded the Military Medal, before he died of wounds at the Battle of Poziers on August the 6th 1916. He is interned in the Warloy-Baillon war cemetery in Picardie, France.
Bertie, on the other hand was shipped back to Egypt inorder to join the 12th Light Horse regiment and was involved in many of the Middle Eastern Campaigns, including the Sinai Desert, Gaza, Romani and was in the historic charge of Beersheba, where he was awarded the Military Cross, when under heavy shell and machine gun fire he destroyed an important Turkish defensive position, which then allowed the remaining Light Horse to capture the town and it’s water wells. Some weeks later he was leading a raid at Samekh, Palestine, when with conspicuous gallantry and skilful leadership, he was awarded his 2nd Military Cross, when he overcame stubbornly Turkish resistance, he finally subdued the enemy with vicious hand to hand fighting, this led to the capture of the garrison at Tiberias with the surrender of twelve officers and eighty three other ranks as well as thirteen machine guns.
Before I end, I must pay homage to the unsung heroes of the Middle Eastern Campaign, never mentioned in dispatches or given awards of bravery, but without them, the victories would never have happened.
So, I have penned a few lines, to their valour.
THE COURAGE OF THE HORSE:
On the plains of Tel el Saba, on that day in nineteen seventeen,
There was bravery and courage, that is very seldom seen.
Not about a soldier, but a different type of being,
A four legged Australian “Whaler”, you know the type I mean.
Like the one that carried the Man from Snowy River,
That stockman’s gallant steed.
Not your normal type of pony, no, an incredibly special breed
Who never knows the meaning of failure, only to succeed or bleed!
For it was the charge on Beersheba, that brings these thoughts to mind.
The Fourth and Twelfth Light Horse were ordered, to capture Beersheba’s watery prize,
Or face a thirsty situation that nobody could deny.
That evening, the men ate bully beef and biscuits.
And the horses, their oats, through snaffled mouths and nosebags
For both had forty miles to cover, before the morning light.
Chauvel that gallant Lieutenant General, he rode there alongside.
For every man, hailed him a hero and they rode with him, with pride.
For on their first arrival at Beersheba’s distant sights,
They were welcomed by a hail of shells and bullets, but no steed was put to fright.
Chauvel cried mount up, mount up and fix bayonets for the ride.
Say goodbye to all your mates for you’ll not be making a repechage.
So across that rocky plain, for three long miles they must ride.
At a full stretched gallop, to take the Turkish trenches in a stride.
Those eight hundred wild colonial boys, riding as they had never rode before
With shells bursting around them and bullets sending messages to the fore.
Before they leapt the trenches one by one and the fighting was hand to hand.
Until the foe was vanquished and the prize was won, those wells of Beersheba.
Now they would make the way to Jerusalem, far into the setting sun.
And those still left standing, slackened girths and surcingles, with a sigh.
And rolled out the canvas water troughs, so their steeds could slake their thirsts.
And the tired Australia horsemen, strokes the neck of his old steed,
Well done, well bloody done, my dear old gallant mate, for you are supreme.
His commanding officer, Colonel Harold McIntosh once remarked, “Bertie Lowing is a capable and sound military tactician, a fearless officer and a very brave friend”.