43103 Trooper Raymond Philip Lowry – Wellington Mounted Rifles

Raymond (Ray) Philip Lowry was born in Petone, Wellington on the 22nd August 1892[i] the second of four sons born
to Mary Jane (nee Taylor) and William Lowry[ii].

Ray and his brothers were raised in the Petone area. Following schooling Ray went to work with the Government Printing Office training as a Letterpress operator. As required Ray served in the 6th Mounted Rifles during his compulsory military training.

On the 13th December 1915 Raymond Philip Lowry married Norah Ella Cook, the Cook family were farming in the Pauatahanui / Judgeford area.

In January 1917 Raymond was called up as part of the 25th New Zealand Mounted Rifle (NZMR) Reinforcements but entered Trentham Military Camp as 43103 Trooper Lowry, 26th NZMR Reinforcements.
Trooper Lowry’s enlistment papers note that he was a married man, with no children,
living in Cuba Street, Petone. Trooper Lowry listed the Government Printing Office as his
employer. Trooper Lowry was made and then confirmed as temporary Corporal with
the 29th NZMR Reinforcements on 26th January 1917 and a Temporary Sergeant with
the 29th Reinforcements NZMR on 4th March 1919. While T/Sergeant Lowry was training
he had his photo taken in Petone, the photo shows him still with 6th Mounted Rifles
collar badges and a marksman’s award.  Also while T/Sergeant Lowry was training his
first daughter Bernie (Berry) Maxine Lowry was born in Lower Hutt.

                                                                                   43103 Temporary Sergeant R P Lowry             

Temporary Sergeant Lowry sailed with the 29th NZMR Reinforcements on 12th
November 1917 arriving in Egypt on 21st December 1917. Following normal procedure
Temporary Sergeant reverted to the ranks when he went into the NZMR Training units. 
On 13th January 1918 Trooper Lowry was allocated to the Wellington Mounted Rifles
(WMR) which was operating in Palestine. The WMR’s diary noted on 24th January 1918
received one officer and 20 other ranks as reinforcements.[iii] The WMR as part of the
NZMR moves into the Jordan Valley and the raids on Amman.

                                                                                                             Wellington Mounted Rifles - Jaffa                                                                                         
                                                                                                             On 24th April 1918 Trooper Lowry was admitted to the NZ                                                                                                                     Mounted Ambulance with Gastroenteritis, then to                                                                                                                                     hospital in Gaza then shipped back to Egypt for                                                                                                                                         treatment. Trooper Lowry was not fit for active duty until
                                                                                                             22nd June 1918 posted to the WMR on 3rd August 1918. The                                                                                                                 WMR was stationed at Jericho, Palestine and received on
                                                                                                             13th August 1918, 45 reinforcements prior to a major                                                                                                                              offensive in September 1918.

On 30th October 1918 the Ottomans’ signed an Armistice ending combat in the Middle East. The WMR moved to Rafah to undergoing training and education to prepare the men for a return to civilian life. There were also sports events arranged to try and prevent all the troops from getting bored. In March the WMR were moved from Rafah into Egypt where Martial Law had been declared in an attempt to suppress a nationalist revolt. The unrest was wide spread when the WMR was moving on 1st April from Quwensa in the Nile Delta to garrison Minuf. Another WMR Trooper, Trooper Windley noted[iv]:

           Left Quwesna for Minuf at 9 o’clock and had a bit of a scrap on the way.
           When we had gone through a village (Sub ked Eahhak) the natives started
           chasing us with stones and sticks so we turned and put a few shots in them
            – killed a few.  

It was not until 30th June 1919 that Trooper Lowry embarked on HMT Ulimoroa for New Zealand. Trooper Lowry landed
in New Zealand on 14th August 1919 and a month later was discharged from the NZEF  ‘on termination of his period of engagement.’    

Ray returned to his family in Petone and also to re-employment
with the NZ Government Printing Office. The family remained at
Petone until the beginning of WW2[v] but are recorded in 1946
as living at Pauatahanui Road.

Ray was killed in a tractor accident at the Pauatahanui property
on 10th November 1950 and is buried Soldier’s Section,
Taita Lawn Cemetery , Lower Hutt  as is his wife
Nora Ella Lowry[vi].

Nora’s brother, 20101 Private Henry (Harvey) Harvey Cook
served with the NZ Machinegun Corp and was wounded at Passchedale.

Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

Temporary Sergeant Raymond Philip Lowry : Harris family, Pauatahanui
WMR in Jaffa November 1917: Alexander Turnbull Library
Grave Raymond Phillip Lowry : findagrave.com

[i]     Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: Trooper Raymond Philip Lowry
[ii]    NZ BDM
[iii]   NZ History: Mounted Rifles – Wellington Mounted Rifles 1914 - 1919
[iv]   Trooper Tom Windley – unpublished diary
[v]    1938 Electoral Rolls - Petone
[vi]    Cemeteries online: Hutt City
Wellington Mounted Rifles at Jaffa November 1917