Rank: Leading Seaman 2831
Regiment: Royal Naval Reserve, HMS Albion, HMS Benbow
HMS Agincourt and HMS Benbow with ships of the 1st Battle Squadron at sea in 1916 © IWM (Q 17883)
Norman Rowe was born in 1886, the son of William Rowe, a fisherman, and his wife Mary. He was a brother of Robert Arthur Cecil Rowe. In the 1901 census he described his occupation as mason’s labourer, but by the time of the 1911 census he was described as a fisherman, and his RNR record states that he was fishing out of Beer on a boat called Eliza (E80).
He joined the Royal Naval Reserve on 1 January 1905. He was called up for war service on 3 August 1914 and, with several other Beer men, joined HMS Albion. In early August 1915 he spent a period on ‘Beach Duties’ which, as Albion was in the Dardanelles at the time, is likely to have involved work ashore on the Gallipoli peninsula. However, he seems to have been taken ill at this point, because on 19 August he was admitted to the military hospital in Malta from the hospital ship Somali, suffering from enteric fever.
His RNR record contains these entries:
‘3 9 15 ....information has been received by War Office from Malta that N. C. Rowe 2831 HMS Albion is dangerously ill.’
’26 11 15, Rowe reported out of danger by Malta’
On 2 December Norman was transferred to England on the hospital ship Regina d’Italia.
In March 1917, Norman joined HMS Benbow, an Iron Duke class battleship with a crew of 589, and remained for the rest of the war. He was demobilised in March 1919.
Norman died in 1961, aged 75.
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