Darrell Elwyn Hodgson Fowler

First Name: 
Darrel
Middle Name: 
Elwyn Hodgson
Last Name: 
Fowler
Date of Birth: 
Monday, April 28, 1890
Mother's Name: 
Annie Fowler
Father's Name: 
Frederick John Fowler
Date Enlisted: 
Tuesday, March 28, 1916
Rank at Enlistment: 
Sapper
Rank at Discharge: 
Lance Corporal
Unit: 
1st Australia and New Zealand Wireless Signal Squadron
Company: 
Australian Engineers
Service: 
Artillery
Awards: 
1914/15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Date of Death: 
Tuesday, January 22, 1918
Place of Death: 
Baghdad, Mesopotamia (Iraq)
Cause of Death: 
Smallpox
Details: 

Lance Corporal Darrell Elwyn Hodgson Fowler (Service No. 14481) was born at Bulli in February 1890, the youngest child of Frederick John Fowler, a telegraph office employee of the Post Master General's Department of NSW. Darrell’s siblings were born in Maitland, Coonabarabran, Coonamble and Crookwell, giving an indication of the many NSW country towns that his father was posted to in the course of his career.

Following in his father’s footsteps, Darrell trained as a telegraphist with the PMG Department of NSW. He was almost blind in his right eye, which would have been a barrier to his enlistment as a soldier early on in the war. However he succeeded in enlisting as a Sapper on 8th May 1916, just a month after his 26th birthday, and was posted to the 1st Australia and New Zealand Wireless Signal Squadron. He embarked at Melbourne on 25th July 1916 on 'RMS Malwa' and after a short stopover in Bombay continued aboard 'TS Muttra' to Basra, where he disembarked on 28th August 1916.

There is very little detail about Lance Corporal Darrell Fowler’s postings and movements in his service record, beyond a couple of entries that state he was present with his unit on 18th August 1917 and had a short hospital admission at Amarah in September 1917 for “defective vision”.

On 14th January 1918 Lance Corporal Fowler was admitted to a field hospital, and two days later transferred to the Isolation Hospital in Baghdad suffering from smallpox “due to field operations”. He died in the Isolation Hospital on Tuesday 22nd January 1918 aged 27. On 23rd January 1918 a telegram had been sent to Lance Corporal Darrell Fowler’s mother, Annie Fowler, living in Five Dock, NSW to inform her that her son was dangerously ill. By this time Lance Corporal Fowler had already succumbed to the disease, and unfortunately Mrs Fowler herself had passed away only three days earlier on 20th January 1918, leaving Darrell’s father to cope with the double blow of losing his wife and youngest child within the space of a couple of days.

Lance Corporal Darrell EH Fowler was buried in the North British Cemetery, Baghdad, Mesopotamia on 23rd January 1918 Plot 12 Row J Grave 15 (renamed Baghdad [North Gate] War Cemetery, Iraq). His “sentimental effects”, consisting of a Bible, prayer book, leather bag, wristlet watch, spectacles and case, thimble, three coins, photographs, pocket wallet, cards, letters and a book, were returned to his father in Australia.

Sources: 
NAA: B2455, FOWLER D E H

Images

Original grave marker of Lance Corporal Dareel EH Fowler

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