b. 02/08/1896 Myrtleford, Australia. d. 15/12/1945 Myrtleford, Australia.
Albert David “Alby” Lowerson (1896-1945) was born on 2nd August 1896 at Myrtleford, Victoria, sixth child of English-born Henry Lowerson, engine driver and later farmer, and his Victorian wife Mary Jane, née McMaster. Alby Lowerson had been dredging for gold at Adelong, New South Wales, before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in Melbourne on 16th July 1915; he was allotted to the 5th Reinforcements of the 21st Battalion which embarked in September.
Lowerson joined his unit on 7th January 1916 and accompanied it to France in March. After a period in the quiet Armentières sector he entered the battle of the Somme, seeing heavy fighting for Pozières Heights from 25th July to 7th August. Two weeks later he was back in the front lines near Mouquet Farm where he was wounded on 26th August. He rejoined the battalion a month later and was promoted corporal on 1 November. Promoted temporary sergeant on 11th April 1917, he was again wounded during the 2nd battle of Bullecourt on 3 May. It was six months before he rejoined his unit as sergeant on 1 November. In the final allied advance in 1918 he distinguished himself on 27th August at Virgin Wood and on 28th August at Herbécourt.
Lowerson earned the Victoria Cross on 1st September during the capture of Mont St Quentin. He was cited for his leadership and courage during the battle, particularly for his effective bombing of the strong point which was the centre of stern resistance: a huge crater from which machine-guns fired and stick-bombs were hurled. He inflicted heavy casualties on the Germans and captured twelve machine-guns and thirty prisoners. Although wounded in the thigh he refused to withdraw until the prisoners had been sent to the rear and the posts of his men had been organized and consolidated. He then refused to leave the battalion for two days until evacuated because of his wound. He resumed duty on 17th September in time to participate in the last Australian infantry action of the war, at Montbrehain on 5 October where he was wounded for the fourth time. He received the Victoria Cross from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 1st March 1919; a month later he embarked for Australia and was discharged on 8th July.
Between the wars Lowerson was a dairy and tobacco farmer on a Victorian soldier settlement block. He named his property, on Merriang estate near Myrtleford, St Quentin. He married Edith Larkins at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Melbourne, on 1st February 1930. Re-enlisting on 5th July 1940, he served as a sergeant in various training units throughout Australia until discharged in 1944. Survived by his wife and daughter, he died of leukaemia at Myrtleford on 15th December 1945 and was buried there after a Methodist service. A memorial headstone was unveiled in 1949 and local returned servicemen make an annual pilgrimage to the grave. Myrtleford in 1966 named the A. D. Lowerson Memorial Swimming Pool in his honour.
His medals including VC, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, Victory Medal 1914-19, War Medal 1939-45, Australian Service Medal 1939-45 and King George VI Coronation Medal are held by the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL, CANBERRA, AUST.
BURIAL PLACE: MYRTLEFORD CEMETERY, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA.
Steve Lee www.memorialstovalour.co.uk – Image of the Lowerson VC Medal Group at Australian War Memorial, Canberra.