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The South African Sharpshooters M.M. Group

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I am working on a display for a collector's gathering at the SA National Museum for Military History in August 2008. I intend displaying this medal group as well as the military and police history of the owner, LCPL B.A. Lowings. He was discharged due to the effects of exposure which he contracted in January 1918 at Paschendaele. Although they were a South African unit, the SA Sharpshooters were attached to the British First Division. Lowings award was gazetted in 1919 but I have not been successfull in finding a citation or reason for the M.M. award. He was attached to the Northamptonshire Regiment.

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Hi Leigh,

He joined the First Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment on 1 Dec 1916.

Regards,

Will

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Was he actually a member of the 1st Northants at at that time, or was his unit serving alongside them?

I have'nt got a history that includes 1st NorthantsI was just thinking that brigade history or similar might have mention of his MM action, but I have'nt got one that covers the 1st Bn.

I'll see if I can contact someone I know who has a particular interest in 1st Northants in case he has any relevant info.

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:jumping: WOW!!! That's a GREAT group!!! :jumping: I hope that you find the information you need. There's nothing like having the "Full Story".

:beer: Doc

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Was he actually a member of the 1st Northants at at that time, or was his unit serving alongside them?

I have'nt got a history that includes 1st NorthantsI was just thinking that brigade history or similar might have mention of his MM action, but I have'nt got one that covers the 1st Bn.

I'll see if I can contact someone I know who has a particular interest in 1st Northants in case he has any relevant info.

Hi Leigh,

The SA Sharpshooters was a very small and highly qualified unit of marksman who were recruited in South Africa for their shooting skills. The total complement in France was never more than 16 men. They were attached to the units of the 1st Division when and where their unique skills were required. On the available information I have on Lowings, it was stated that he joined the 1st Battalion in 1916. Not much information was/is available on this individual's other activities other than his medical discharge and treatment after the 3rd Battle of Ypres. Some sources have accreditted the SA Sharpshooters with over 3000 kills in the trenches. The SA Sharpshooter casualty rate was also very high, 35% of the unit were Killed in Action or Died of Wounds. Only 6 of the original group returned to South Africa after the war that were not medically discharged. The Sharpshooters were recruited under the auspices and financial support from Sir Abe Bailey, and are also known as the Bailey's Sharpshooters.

Any additional information would be very welcome.

Regards,

Will

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From G.D. Trotter's article "Bailey's South African Sharpshooters" in Military Medal Society of SA Journal No 25 (Dec 1984):

L Cpl Bert Arthur Lowings (Bricklayer from Durban)

Enlisted 4.7.1916, aged 22.

Previous service of three years with the SA Mounted Rifles.

Joined the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment on 1.12.1916.

Awarded the Military Medal (London Gazette 13.3.1919).

Disembarked at Cape Town, from HMT 'Edward Woerman' on 10th June 1919.

Demobilised on 11th July 1919.

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From G.D. Trotter's article "Bailey's South African Sharpshooters" in Military Medal Society of SA Journal No 25 (Dec 1984):

L Cpl Bert Arthur Lowings (Bricklayer from Durban)

Enlisted 4.7.1916, aged 22.

Previous service of three years with the SA Mounted Rifles.

Joined the 1st Northamptonshire Regiment on 1.12.1916.

Awarded the Military Medal (London Gazette 13.3.1919).

Disembarked at Cape Town, from HMT 'Edward Woerman' on 10th June 1919.

Demobilised on 11th July 1919.

Thanks Arthur,

That is the most complete document available on the unit. His personal file did not yield much more detail either. After the war Lowings joined the South African Police and more detail and information regarding that period of his life is available. Other documents include details of his WW2 career where he was not suprisingly utilized as a musketry instructor.

Regards,

Will

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http://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2008/post-3034-1215195498.jpghttp://gmic.co.uk/uploads/monthly_07_2008/post-3034-1215195477.jpg

The Military Medal is named to the "SA Sharpshooters" while the War and Victory Medals are named to the "SAS".

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Have posted this before...another South African Sharpshooter...

Only all his victims were all British ......

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Bertie Arthur Lowings was my Grandfather. 

I have very little information about him and his military career.  I would love to have his military medals if possible. 

I lived in Kenya from 1956 - 1968.

My Grandfather passed away in 1966, so I never had the pleasure of getting to know him as an adult. 

We did however play chess by correspondence , so you can imagine how long a game took.  We played many games over the years.

I do know he joined the police after the war and then when he retired joined Lever Brothers in their security division. 

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The plot thickens... 

 

And my 2 cents here: from what I understand starting in the spring of 1918 unit commanders were no longer required to forward a detailed recommendation for the MM, just the soldiers name they wished to reward, and in my experience I've had no luck finding written recommendations for MM's awarded after that time. 

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