Milne Barry Gow – Barry (bass)
Service Number 8536
Sapper 17th reinforcements 2nd Light Horse Signal Troop, 4th Division Signals Company,
Enlisted 4 February 1916
Embarked from Australia 14 April 1916 HMAT Ceramic (to Egypt and then England)
Proceeded to France 6 August 1916
Transferred to England for further training from 4th Div Sig Co 18 October 1916 and then to Engineers and Signallers Details, Hitchen.
To Hitchen Union hospital 30 January 1917-5 February 1917 then returned to engineering training depot
Proceeded to France 29 September 1917
Transferred from Eng Sig Detail to 3rd Division Signal Company (Abbeville) 6 November 1917
6 March1918 transferred to Australian Corps Signal Company
Paris on leave 20/7/1918 to 27/7/1918
Nice on leave 23/11/1918 to 17/12/1918
Left for Australia 20 June 1919 on the Konig Frederich August (the same ship as WEG Bartrop)
Place of birth Randwick Australia
Pre-war lived in Moore St Strathfield
Occupation motor mechanic
Appearance 5’7 1/2” hazel eyes, brown hair
Age 22 at enlistment
Service commemorated Burwood War Memorial Arch, Burwood Park, NSW
My father Milne Barry Gow served in the AIF, Second Division Signals during the First World War. He was one of four brothers all of whom served in the AIF and returned uninjured to Australia. Despite his being older than two of them he outlived them all by lasting till the age of 99 in 1992. He never talked about the unpleasant aspects of his war. I know he was in Egypt, England, France and Belgium. He recounted some amusing stories about his riding of motor bikes and also horses specially one that had the habit of biting its riders. Unfortunately, Dad left almost no record of his war period. Among the few bits and pieces,such as his dog tags and an AIF badge, I found a single issue of Reveille published in November 1931 in which there is an article by one of Dad’s mates, J Bombelli. This article, moreover, had been circled and is of importance to me when it is the only document I have concerning Dad’s war service. He was the digger ‘who was a good hand at sketching’.
Having visited the Somme in 2005, and now having performed Chris’s Australian War Requiem, I am again reminded of the unbelievable carnage that occurred. Sixty thousand Australians paid the supreme price. My father and his brothers were lucky. Clearly the troops maintained a sense of humour as the article reveals.
The signallers—part of the Engineering brigades—helped to provide critical communications infrastructure under fire in difficult and extremely dangerous situations. Sapper Gow served with the 3rd Division signallers during 1917, during the latter part of the Third Ypres campaign. In March 1918 he was transferred to the Australian Corp Signal Company, which was being transitioned to an all-AIF set-up. The history of the Company is not well-known, with even the official historian, CEW Bean noting his regret that the story hadn’t been included in the printed version. (See the exchange of letters included in the unit diary for March 1918.)