|Date of Birth||March 18, 1898|
|Place of Birth||Chapleau, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Annie Lowes, mother, Dauphin, Manitoba|
|Trade / Calling||Labourer|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Date of Enlistment||June 25, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Decorations and Medals||Military Medal|
|Date of Death||January 11, 1980|
|Age at Death||82|
|Buried At||Forest Lawn Park, Cypress, Orange County, California|
Although he gave his birth year as 1894 on his attestation papers, Roderick Percival (Percy) Lowes was born on 18 March 1898 in Chapleau, Ontario. His parents were William and Annie (née Stewart) Lowes. William worked for the Canadian National Railway, first as a brakeman, and then for many years as a conductor. The young family first settled in Chapleau, Ontario where their first four children were born, Neil Stewart (1892), William Hubert (1894), Duncan James (1896) and Percy. From there, by 1900, with a transfer with the railway, the family moved to Cranbrook, British Columbia. Children born in Cranbrook were Thomas Edward (1900) and Archie Kennedy (1902). Only in Cranbrook for a couple of years, the family transferred to Rat Portage (later named Kenora) where two more children joined the family, Earnest John (Jack) in 1904 and Margaret Louise (1907). While in Kenora, tragedy befell the family as children Thomas died in 1906 followed by Margaret in 1909. By 1910 the family had relocated to Dauphin, Manitoba where another daughter, Annie Lauretta, was born . For the 1916 census, William continued to work as a conductor while Stewart found employment as a brakeman for the railway, William was working as a barber, Duncan, a painter, and Percy was listed as a soldier overseas.
Although he had his medical examination in Winnipeg, Roderick Percival Lowes signed his attestation papers at Camp Sewell near Carberry, Manitoba on 25 June 1915; he was only 17 years of age. With blue eyes and dark brown hair, his occupation was given as labourer. Originally with the 44th Battalion, he was soon transferred to the 45th. He is found as a Private on the Nominal Rolls of the 45th Battalion that embarked from Halifax on 1 April 1916 on the Lapland, yet his service records have him leaving Canada on 13 March 1916, on the Lapland or Baltic.
Once overseas Percy was transferred to the 31st Battalion on 7 May 1916, arriving in France the next day. By the beginning of June he had joined the unit in the field. On 17 May 1917 Private R P Lowes was awarded the Military Medal.
In September of 1917 Percy was granted a ten day leave to England, and while on leave was admitted to the Moore Barracks Hospital at Shorncliffe, diagnosis flat feet, marked weakness of plantar ligaments on both feet due to service at the Somme, France. He was also found to have an irregular heart beat. Now classified as B2, for Percy, the remainder of the war was to be spent in England. For a period he was attached to the 21st Reserve Battalion, the No 4 Department of the Canadian Army Pay Corps, the BR Depot, and lastly the Alberta Regimental Depot where he was appointed Acting Corporal in late 1918.
On 19 January 1919 in the registration district of West Ham, Essex, Percy married Grace Canty. The daughter of William and Eleanor Canty, Grace was born during the first quarter of 1891, birth registered in West Ham, Essex. In most documents she gave her birth year as 1895 or 96. In the 1911 England census, Grace had been working as a shorthand typist, living with her widowed mother and three siblings in Canning Town, Essex. With the end of the war, both Percy and Grace were passengers on the Baltic that arrived in Halifax on 21 August 1919, Percy travelling with other returning soldiers.
Once in Canada Percy and Grace made their home in Dauphin, Manitoba for a short while. They then moved to Detroit, Michigan for a couple of years where Percy had found work as a machinist. By 1924 they had returned to Dauphin and gave birth to a daughter Shirley. With Percy’s occupation given as painter, they moved to Los Angeles, California in June of 1927, and then divorced by 1930. Both Grace and Percy became naturalized citizens of the United States; daughter Shirley was living in Dauphin in 1932 when Grace was issued her naturalization certificate. Over the years, Grace returned to England for a number of visits to her family.
Roderick Percival Lowes died on 11 January 1980 in Cypress, Orange County, California. His cremains are located at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Columbarium of Grace, in Cypress. It is unlikely that any of his brothers served during the war.
by Judy Stockham
Canada Military Honours and Awards Citation card: Library and Archives Canada
Newspaper article: Kenora Miner and News, 14 July 1917