ROWLEY, Herbert William

No.S/33037, Rifleman, Herbert William ROWLEY
Aged 24

21st Battalion, Rifle Brigade
formerly 25903, Bedfordshire Regiment
Died at Sea on Sunday, 15th April 1917

Born in 1893 in Westley (4th qtr Thingoe 4a:692) son of Caleb and Martha ROWLEY (née DUNT)

1901 census...Aged 8, he was at 27 Prentice Street, Lavenham with his father Caleb ROWLEY [57] innkeeper born Ixworth; his mother Martha [49] born Gt Yarmouth; sister Henrietta [11] and brother Henry [9]. All the children were born at Parham Road, Westley.

His father died in 1906

1911 census...Aged 18, a grocer's assistant, he was at 39 Church Terrace, Bury St.Edmunds with his widowed mother and brother Frank (Henry) (a butcher)

He enlisted in Hertford.

On 15 April 1917 SS "Arcadian" was en route from Thessaloniki (Salonika) to Alexandria with a company of 1,335 troops and crew and escorted by a Japanese Navy destroyer. Shortly after completing a boat drill, while 26 miles north east of the Greek island of Milos, Arcadian was hit by a single torpedo from the German submarine SM UC-74 and sank within six minutes with the loss of 279 lives.
A contemporary newspaper article described how four of Arcadian's overcrowded lifeboats were successfully lowered before she sank. Some of the dead were cooks and stokers who were working below decks. The escorting destroyer had two torpedoes launched at her while she was attempting to rescue men from the water; survivors reported that she had lowered three of her own boats while going at full speed. More survivors, who had been clinging to a raft, were rescued at midnight by the Q-ship HMS Redbreast.

photo C.W.G.C.

Herbert Rowley is commemorated on the Mikra Memorial, Kalamaria, Greece

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details