21 August 1915
Mr. J.E. Rowell, of Lockleys, father of Lieutenant-Colonel Frank Milton Rowell, and Colonel James Rowell, his uncle, were officially informed by the Military Department on Tuesday at noon that a cablegram has been received giving news of the death of Lieutenant-Colonel F. M. Rowell. The cause of death was not definitely stated, but peritonitis was mentioned, and it is supposed that it was caused by wounds received at the front.
Colonel F. M. Rowell was one of the best-known military men in South Australia, having been connected with the forces from his youth, in which respect he followed the example of his father and uncle. He was about 39 years of age, and when the South Australian quota of the First Expeditionary Force was brought into existence Lieutenant-Colonel Rowell was given the command of the Light Horse Regiment, which has, however, since reaching Egypt, been converted into an infantry section. His experience in military work had extended over the best part of his life, and for years he had held a commission, before being promoted to lieutenant-colonel in charge of the 22nd Light Horse Regiment, which gathers its members from all parts of the South-East, the Yankalilla and Reynella districts. This was his command when he was selected to take control of the Light Horse contingent which left here with the famous 10th Battalion for Egypt.
After his arrival in Egypt he distinguished himself so much that when Colonel Chevall, who had charge of the 3rd Brigade, in which the Light Horse was embodied, had to be invalided to England the South Australian officer was selected to take his place, and he continued to lead the brigade until his withdrawal was forced by the injuries which have resulted in his death.
Lieutenant-Colonel Rowell had previous experience of actual warfare in South Africa, where he served with the South Australian contingent for about two years, during which he was engaged in active fighting in Cape Colony, the Transvaal, and Orange River Colony, and also in more severe engagements in Johannesburg, Pretoria, at Diamond Hill and Belfast. As a reward for his distinguished services in that war, at which time he held the rank, of captain, he was given the Queen's medal with five clasps and the King's medal with two. Upon the conclusion of hostilities in South Africa Lieutenant-Colonel Rowell became a member of Colonel Henry's Imperial Staff, which was stationed there for nearly 18 months, and before returning to South Australia he went to England as a member of the colonial troops to take part in the festivities and ceremonies connected with the Coronation of King Edward.
When he came back to his native country he settled down here, and later was appointed, senior inspector m the Horticultural Department, under Mr. George Quinn, and he was carrying out the duties of that office when called upon to assume command of the Light Horse now serving on Gallipoli Peninsula as infantry. Few men had more friends than Lieutenant Colonel Rowell, and, the news of his death was received with profound regret in Adelaide yesterday. Lieutenant-Colonel Rowell while in Egypt proved his soldierly qualities by the skilful and efficient manner in which he supervised the training of his men. Officers and troopers were alike devoted to him and they followed him with alacrity when he went to the Dardanelles. Practically all of them volunteered to serve as infantry men, and in the campaign against the Turks they fought with the utmost confidence under his leadership. He was a splendid officer though intrepid —and he greatly distinguished himself on the Gallipoli Peninsula. His death is a loss to the Australian Military forces, and more especially to the contingent sent from this State, and it will be deeply deplored by those who had the honor to serve under him.He was an ideal soldier; and his heart was in his work. He left a widow, formerly Miss Stanford of Fulham, but no children. Colonel James Rowell and his brother received many messages of sympathy during the afternoon when the news of the gallant officer's death became known.
A Farewell Speech
On September 10 last year a big gathering was held in the Adelaide Town Hall to say farewell to Old Boys of St. Peters and Prince Alfred Colleges on the eve of their departure for the war. His Excellency the Governor delivered a stirring speech, and several other speeches were made. Lieutenant-Colonel Rowell, as an old Prince Alfred College boy, was the first to acknowledge the compliment paid to the old scholars. He was accorded a wonderful ovation With such, a send-off, he said, one could not help feeling that wherever they went they would have the goodwill of both the colleges behind them. Fifteen years ago he was a leader of a troop in the Boer war composed of Old Boys from St. Peter's and Prince Alfred Colleges, and he could assure them the college boys had leavened the forces they were with. With them it had just been necessary to say what was wanted and it was done. There had been no need, to worry about it after the order was given. It would help the boys going away to recall that send-off with such a distinguished soldier as the Governor in the chair. They were going forward to join in a great cause. The Empire's honor was at stake, and they were going to the front, knowing they were fighting for the right and for the British flag. They would do their best to uphold the honor of the colleges, and it would be gratifying to look back upon that meeting and know they were going with the good wishes of all Old Boys. He felt sure the Old Boys would not have cause to regret their going.
1915 'LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROWELL.', Chronicle(Adelaide, SA : 1895 - 1954), 21 August, p. 42, viewed 29 June, 2014, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article89146273