Lance-Corporal Darrell Fowler
1st Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) Wireless Signal Squadron, AIF
Service Number: 14481
Born: 1890 Bulli, NSW
Died: 22 January 1918, Baghdad Mesopotamia (Iraq)
Darrell Elwyn Hodgson Fowler was born in 1890 at Bulli NSW, the sixth and last child of Frederick John and Annie Maria (nee Hodgson) Fowler. His father was a telegraph station master and postmaster in many country towns across the state before being appointed Penrith postmaster around 1900 for the last nine years of his civil service. While in Penrith Darrell Fowler completed his schooling at Penrith Public School. He also attended Miss Mabel White’s music school and attained his accreditation (ALCM) with the London College of Music. His numerous musical performances as part of Miss White’s musical concerts in the Temperence Hall are recorded in the Nepean Times. His parents also interested themselves in many public organisations including the Penrith School of Arts where his father was Hon. Secretary for many years. After his father’s retirement in February 1909 and owing to his mother’s ill health, the family moved to “Annifred” Barnstaple Road, Five Dock. After his schooling Fowler trained and worked as a telegraphist at North Sydney Post Office.
Notwithstanding a vision problem with his right eye, Fowler enlisted on 8 May 1916 and served as a sapper with the Wireless Engineers until 29 June 1916 when he was allocated to the 3rd Reinforcements, 1stAustralian and New Zealand (ANZAC) Wireless Signal Squadron. On 25 July 1916, Fowler left Melbourne aboard the RMS Malwa, disembarking at Bombay on 14 August 1916. He left for Basra on 21 August 1916 aboard TS Muttra disembarking on 28 August 1916. Along with his unit, Fowler was involved in the capture of Baghdad in March 1917. In September 1917, he spent a few weeks in hospital in Amara (Iraq) suffering from problems with his vision.
On 14 January 1918, Fowler was admitted to a British Casualty Clearing Station suffering from smallpox which was ‘due to active service’. Two days later he was transferred to the Isolation Hospital in Baghdad and died there three days later on 22 January. Fowler was buried in the North British Cemetery and according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission it ‘is located in a very sensitive area in the Waziriah Area of the Al-Russafa district of Baghdad’. Sadly for the family, two days before Fowler’s death, his mother Annie had died after a long illness. Fowler’s personal belongings, including his prayer book, watch, thimble, letters and photographs were returned to his father. Frederick Fowler passed away in July 1929.
- Baghdad (North Gate) War Cemetery, Iraq
- Honor Roll, Penrith Superior Public School
National Archives of Australia: FOWLER D E H