Dead within three years – the true brothers in arms

The Lowry Memorial Hall, High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent
The Lowry Memorial Hall, High Street, Lee-on-the-Solent

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Take a look at the three faces below. The family resemblance is easy to spot.

They were brothers who were all killed in the final three years of the First World War.

They all came from Lee-on-the-Solent and their names are recorded on the Stubbington war memorial along with 63 others from the Crofton parish (Lee was part of the Crofton parish a century ago).

On the left is Captain/Acting Lieutenant Colonel Auriol Ernest Eric Lowry. He won the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross while commanding the 2nd Battalion, The West Yorkshire (Prince of Wales’s Own) Regiment.

He was killed by a machine gun bullet on September 23, 1918, in France. He was 25.

But three months earlier he was awarded his DSO for, as the London Gazette reported, ‘conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during many days of very fierce fighting, when he led counter-attacks against overwhelming odds... and, finally, when surrounded on all sides, he cut his way out, being personally the last to cover the withdrawal.

‘He was overpowered and captured, but during the night escaped from his escort and made his way back across many miles at the greatest personal risk. His fortitude and indomitable courage throughout a memorable 12 days were beyond all praise.’

The day before, his brother Lieutenant/Acting Captain Cyril John Patrick Lowry (centre, right), a member of the same battalion, died in the same battle near Villiers Carbonel when the Germans forced British troops back across the old Somme battlefield of 1916.

It was reported that Lt Lowry was in sight of his brother when he was killed. His body was never recovered. He was 20.

The two men’s older brother, Second Lieutenant William Augustine Harper Lowry, had been dead for more than three years.

Known as Harper, he joined the Indian Army in 1915 and died at Gallipoli fighting the Turks. He was 25 and has no known grave.

The family had lived at Ryde View, Manor Way Grange and Inguelo, all at Lee.

The Lowry Memorial Hall was built at Lee about 1920 by their father William in memory of his three sons. The hut stood originally in Gomer Lane and later close to the Royal British Legion Club in High Street.

It was donated to the people of Lee for use as a concert hall, but demolished in the 1980s.