Returning from my second visit in August, I was told by my secretary,
(who also doubles as my wife) that I’d had an enquiry for
a book, I quickly glanced at the name – Gow, I recognised
it immediately, must be his son or grandson I thought.
Imagine my utter amazement when it was the man himself 293403
Lt RF Gow now in his 84th year. Rod was enlisted into the 34th RA
signal Training School, the shock of leaving civilian life to join
the army was a great upheaval and a shock to many of his fellow
conscripts. Parades, physical training discipline etc. was a huge
His signal training complete he was posted to 24th Field Regt
RA, where he rose to the dizzy heights of Bombardier. Whilst here
there he decided to apply for a commission into the newly formed
Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) Thus
he found himself posted yet again to 123 OCTU Catterick, where he
commenced his Officer training. Though he did not meet the requirements
for the REME, he qualified as an Officer in his present unit. Thus
he was commissioned, 2Lieutenant and found himself reporting for
duty with 181 FIELD REGT at Pennypot Lane Harrogate, where he was
given the job as Assistant Command Post Officer (CPO/ACK).
He found the recently converted Regiment still in the throes of
training and their signalling skills left much to be desired. He
found his fellow Officers a mixed bunch, but fell in with flow and
quickly became part of the Regiment.
His experience in France was a harsh introduction to war. The fighting
was intense, on one occasion, he found himself firing over ‘open
sights’ to disperse a company of Germans as they emerged from
a wood, loading up with airburst on the shortest fuse, the effects
were devastating, and was the only time Rod saw the immediate result
of his guns. He continued with the Regiment through France to the
Seine, where he came down with acute sinusitis, so bad he was evacuated
to the UK for an operation and didn’t return until the Regiment
were about to cross the Rhine. More hard fighting was to follow
through Germany, on one occasion Battery HQ was in a house, when
they received a call to say that snipers were firing from the upstairs
of same house!!
Rod and his Driver, Gnr Snooks, dashed upstairs, kicked down a
door, to be met by a hail of bullets, fortunately Snooks was the
better shot and let rip with his Sten, killing a youth of about
sixteen. Finally at the end of the War, Rod's youth made him eligible
for service in the Far East. Fortunately he was posted to India
(thank god for the A- Bomb said Rod) There he joined 43rd Mortar
Regt, and finished his service in the Army in May 1946.
I went to meet Rod and his wife Cath in October, where I spent
an interesting, pleasant afternoon. It’s always a privilege
meeting members of my Dads old Regiment, and I hope that was first
of many to come.