Battalion 47th Battalion
Regiment Machine Gun Corps
|2 Lieutenant||Royal Irish Fusiliers|
|Lieutenant||Machine Gun Corps|
|Captain||Machine Gun Corps|
Alban Low's name appears in the Collingham Parish Magazine in December 1914 as someone who had volunteered and who was serving with the forces. We have identified Alban and his family and his military service, but have not found any connections with Collingham, except for the above mentioned Parish Magazine article.
Alban Low was born on the 27th June 1893 in Frogmore, Herfordshire, the son of Frederick M. Low, and his wife Florence A. Low. Alban was educated at Highgrove School in Hornsey, and it is there that we find him in the 1911 census as a 17 year old pupil. After school, Alban went to the University of Cambridge and studied at Jesus College.
Alban Low's medal record card shows that his Army career started as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Fusiliers, before a posting as a Lieutenant in the Machine Gun Corps. Alban first went to France on the 29th November 1914. At some point, Alban returned to the Royal Irish Fusiliers initially as Captain and latterly as Major, but that may have been after the war ended.
During Alban's service he was in France with the Machine Gun Corps. He was initially with the 10th Machine Gun Company (4th Division) on the First Day of the Battle of the Somme (1 July 1916). For that fighting, Alban was Mentioned in Despatches.
Alban was then in the Vimy-Arras Offensive in April 1917. This was followed by his appointment as Divisional Machine Gun Officer (DMGO) and his posting home to command a Service Company. He returned to France as DMGO to the 36th Division, and served during the German spring offensive (March 1918) at St Quentin where his units suffered heavy casualties. He was then transfered to the 47th Battalion MGC with whom he took part in the fall of Lille and the crossing of the Scheldt. At some time Alban Low was awarded the Military Cross.
After the war, Alban Low remained in the Army and served in Persia and Iraq for which he was awarded the General Service Medal with clasps for Iraq and North West Persia, in 1924. In 1937, the London Gazette published a notice that The King had "been pleased to give and to grant to Alban Low His Majesty's Royal licence and authority to wear the Insignia of the Fourth Class (Military Division) of the Order of Al Rafidian conferred by His Majesty the King of Iraq, in recognition of valuable service render to the Iraqi Government".
Alban Low married Kathleen Elizabeth Hingston at St. Peter's Church, Pimlico, London on the 14th February 1933.
In World War 2, Alban Low continued to serve in the Army. From the 24th April 1941 to the 16th January 1942 he was first commanding officer of the 2nd Gibraltar Brigade formed in Gibraltar for its defence. Then from 17th March 1942 to the 26th August 1942, Alban Low was commanding officer of the 138th Brigade, part of the 46th Infantry Division based in the UK. From 26th August 1942 to 11th December 1942 he was commanding officer of the 219th Independent Brigade, part of 43 Infantry Division based in the UK, until its disbandment in December 1942.
In the New Year's Honours list in 1945, Alban was awarded the CBE as a Colonel (temporary Brigadier) in the Royal Irish Fusiliers. His citation reads: "For particularly meritorious service as commander Algiers Sub District during the period 27th Dec 1943 to 23 June 1944. The complex nature of the duties involved in his appointment called for ability, foresight, judgment and tact of the highest order, all of which qualities were displayed by Brigadier Low to a marked degree. The high standards of discipline maintained, the excellent welfare amenities provided in the District and the smooth relationship existing with the local French and American authorities are a tribute to his zeal and devotion to duty and to his untiring efforts in the interests of those under his command".
In 1948 he was further awarded the American Legion of Merit. The citation for this award reads: "Brigadier Alban Low, CBE, MC, British Army, during the period 26th June 1944 to 20 May 1945, as Deputy Commander, Rome Area Allied Command, by his tact, personality, sound judgment, and professional qualifications contributed greatly to the complete integration of the Rome Area Allied Command which was composed of United States and British Officers and enlisted men. His ability as an administrator and his sense of fairness were important factors in creating a harmonious and cooperative spirit among Allied Forces stationed in The Rome Area."
From this service record, it is certain that Alban Low was entitled to wear World War 2 medals not shown in the above medal bar, but we have not included any as we have not found definitive proof of his awards.
Alban Low, CBE, MC, of Sandon Station Road, Rustington near Worthing in West Sussex on the 4th April 1978.
Biography last updated 23 January 2020 15:00:38.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 07234
The Collingham Parish Magazine Dec 1914 & Feb 1915
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
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