Albert Rowe, British soldier with 122 Battery, 28th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery. Originally a brick maker from Ramsgate, Kent, he joined the RFA on 3 January 1899. He stationed with British Garrison in Cahir, Tipperary where he met his wife Mary Ladrigan, a servant girl. Mary’s family were staunch republicans. Albert converted to Catholicism.
This is most likely their wedding photograph or a photograph taken shortly after. Albert is wearing RFA full dress (i.e. the best uniform) comprising a 9-button tunic, which was dark blue with a scarlet collar and yellow braiding both around the collar and formed into an Austrian knot on the cuffs. His netherwear is dark blue overalls (close fitting trousers) with a broad red stripe down the outer seam and secured with a strap under the instep of his boots, which are fitted with spurs. He carries a riding whip and gloves. The waist belt is of whitened buff leather and fastened by a rectangular gilding metal buckle. Mary is clearly showing the ring on her wedding finger.
Albert went on to serve with 28th (later 52nd) brigade of the The Royal Field Artillery. Albert was a Battery Sergeant Major in the 122nd Battery. He saw action early in the First World War. HIs brigade was part of the British Expeditionary Forces II Corps under the command of General Smith Dorrian. He fought at the battle of Le Cateau and was awarded the Mons Medal for his efforts as part of a Howitzer gun battery in holding back the advancing German Army to allow the BEF to retreat..
“…the men on the hill were outnumbered five to one by three German infantry regiments, who also had massed machine guns across the road. Enfiladed from east and west and subject to fire from multiple Germans batteries, the infantry nevertheless put down withering rifle fire, and the forty guns from the seven batteries brought down the enemy’s charges at close range over open sights. In a famous incident, 122nd Battery unlimbered its guns to face a German infantry platoon emerging from a depression. The battery’s guns fired one simultaneous round to destroy the entire platoon.”
He was injured in 22 April 1917 suffering shrapnel injuries to his leg and was sent to Wharnfield Hospital, Sheffield to recuperate. In April 1918 he was invalided out of service suffering from Trench Nephritis from -in his own words – “lying about in wet ground”. He went to work on the railway Breakdown Gang (part of the Great Northern Railway) in Dundalk. He lived with his wife Mary, son Jackie, Bertie and daughters Frances and Molly in No. 3 Barrack Street. Frances recalled that her father was a tall good natured man who was known as “Whistler Rowe”.
With the onset of the War of Independence their location near the Army Barracks combined his army background meant that the house was, on occasion, subjected to raids by IRA combatants. Albert still had his army uniform in the house. Albert had used his army background to help a young IRA activist escape past British Army checkpoint at the train station in Dundalk which greatly help diffuse the situation on one particularly tense encounter.
His health continued to decline and he went on to contract TB. He died in 1925. An application by his widow for a war pension was denied.