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William Lowe (British Army officer)
Birth name William Henry Muir Lowe
Born (1861-10-20)October 20, 1861
Died February 7, 1944(1944-02-07) (aged 82)
Place of birth North-Western Provinces, British India
Place of death London, England
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1881–1907
Rank Major-General
Unit 7th Dragoon Guards
Commands held 3rd Reserve Cavalry Brigade
Battles/wars 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War
Third Anglo-Burmese War
Second Boer War
Easter Rising
First World War
Awards Companion of the Order of the Bath
Mentioned in Despatches

Major-General William Henry Muir "W. H. M." Lowe CB (20 October 1861 – 7 February 1944) was a British Army officer who commanded the British forces in Dublin during the Easter Rising of 1916 and received the surrender of the Irish republican forces.

Early Life and career[edit | edit source]

Lowe was born in North-Western Provinces, India, to William Henry Lowe of the Indian Civil Service, and Caroline Charlotte Muir. He was educated at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, and commissioned in the 7th Dragoon Guards in 1881.[1] The following year he saw action in the Egyptian Campaign, where the 7th Dragoon Guards were part of the 1st Cavalry Brigade led by General Sir Baker Russell. Lowe was involved in the fighting at Kassassin, the Battle of Tel el-Kebir and the march on Cairo.[2][3] He received the Egypt Medal and the Khedive's Star, a medal presented by Khedive Tawfiq to all officers and men engaged in the campaign.[4] In 1886, Lowe went to Burma from India, where the 7th Dragoon Guards were stationed, as a special service officer to the Upper Burma Task Force during the guerrilla phase of the Third Anglo-Burmese War.[2] Remaining in Burma until 1887, he received the India General Service Medal with two clasps.[4] He was promoted to the rank of captain in 1887 and major in 1892.[2]

Second Boer War[edit | edit source]

In 1899, he was promoted to lieutenant-colonel and assumed command of the 7th Dragoon Guards. From 1900 to 1902, Lowe led the regiment in the Second Boer War, being present at the capture of Pretoria and the Battle of Diamond Hill, and was promoted brevet colonel in November 1900.[2][5] Lord Kitchener's despatch of 8 August 1901 related how "at midnight on the 30th July Colonel Lowe, 7th Dragoon Guards, successfully surprised a farmhouse, from which he took 11 armed prisoners with rifles, bandoliers and horses."[6] Lowe was twice more Mentioned in Despatches: in Lord Roberts' Recommendations, 2 April 1901 and in Lord Kitchener's Final Despatch, 23 June 1902.[7][8] He received both the Queen's and King's South Africa Medal.[4]

He left the 7th Dragoon Guards in March 1903 to become Assistant Quartermaster-General of the II Corps (Southern Command), being promoted to full colonel. In May 1905, he went to the Northern Command as colonel in charge of cavalry records and staff officer for the Imperial Yeomanry.[2] He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in 1906.[9] He went on half-pay in March 1907 and retired a year later.[2]

Easter Rising[edit | edit source]

On the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Lowe rejoined the army as Inspector of Cavalry, and was appointed as a Brigade Commander with rank of Brigadier-General in 1915.[4] He was commander of the 3rd Reserve Cavalry Brigade, stationed at the Curragh Camp, at the outbreak of the Easter Rising on Monday, 24 April 1916. On being informed of the Rising by phone, he ordered the brigade to Dublin by train.[10] Arriving himself in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Lowe assumed command of British forces in Dublin and set about securing the line between the railway station, Dublin Castle and Trinity College, thus dividing the rebel positions north and south of the river.[11] It was Lowe who ordered the shelling of Liberty Hall by field guns from Trinity College, and who ordered the Sherwood Foresters to continue advancing on Mount Street Bridge with a high cost in casualties.[12] On Saturday evening, 29 April, after being approached by Nurse Elizabeth O'Farrell, he agreed to negotiate with the leaders only if they would surrender unconditionally, and at 2.30 pm that day, accompanied by Nurse O'Farrell, Patrick Pearse surrendered to Lowe.[13]

He was awarded the honorary rank of major-general when he finally retired in March 1919.[2]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Lowe married, in 1895, Frances Broster (died 29 September 1942), the widow of Captain Robert Harry Johnson of the 64th Foot Regiment and daughter of Francisco de Salvo, of Salerno, Sicily.[14] They had a son, and a daughter Elizabeth, who became a nun. Their son, John, was a British Army officer who with his father also took part in the suppression of the Rising and accepting the surrender of Pearse[15] —fought at Gallipoli and the Somme and subsequently became a Hollywood actor under the screen name John Loder.[16] General Lowe died in London on 7 February 1944, aged 82. Neither an otherwise comprehensive obituary in The Times nor an entry in Who Was Who 1941–1950[4] made reference to his role in the Easter Rising, although it is mentioned in John Loder's autobiography, and there is a photograph of Pearse surrendering to him.[17]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "No. 25029". 1881-10-21. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/25029/page/ 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 Obituary: Maj.-Gen. W.H.M. Lowe, The Times, 9 February 1944, p. 7.
  3. Hart's Annual Army List, Militia List, and Imperial Yeomanry List for 1888
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Who Was Who, Vol. IV: 1941–1950 (fifth ed.). London: A and C Black. 1980. p. 701. ISBN 0-7136-2131-1. 
  5. Arthur Conan Doyle, The Great Boer War. London, Smith, Elder & Co., 1902
  6. "No. 27377". 1901-11-15. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27377/page/ 
  7. "Mentions in Despatches - Army". Anglo Boer War.com. 2004-2009. http://www.angloboerwar.com/Other/army_mentions.htm. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  8. "No. 27459". 1902-07-29. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27459/page/ 
  9. "No. 27926". 1906-06-29. https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/27926/page/ 
  10. McNally, Michael; Peter Dennis (2007). Easter Rising 1916: Birth of the Irish Republic. Osprey Publishing. pp. 20, 47. ISBN 978-1-84603-067-3. http://books.google.com/books?id=X_LY5lZ62w8C. 
  11. Townshend, Charles (2006). Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion. London: Penguin Books. p. 186. ISBN 978-0-14-101216-2. http://books.google.ie/books?id=xZzIAQAACAAJ. 
  12. McNally 2007, pp. 68, 71
  13. McNally 2007, p. 88
  14. Genealogists' Magazine, vol.27, no.7, Society of Genealogists, London, 2002, pps:332-326, "Another Englishman Abroad - John Loder and Hedy Lamarr" by Charles Kidd, editor of Debrett's Peerage & Baronetage.
  15. BBC, 1916 Easter Rising Gallery
  16. "Hedy Lamarr and the Easter Rising". Irish Theatre Institute. 17 August 2006. http://www.irishplayography.com/search/play.asp?play_id=2401. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  17. Hollywood Hussar by John Loder, London, 1977, ISBN 0-7030-0121-3

External links[edit | edit source]

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