Memories of Passchendaele

The Rowland Brothers

Memories from Passchendaele

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The Rowland Brothers

Robert and Albert Rowland were brothers that served together in the First World War, a fact their family didn’t realise until recently when they uncovered their service records. 

The brothers enlisted in their early 20’s in 1915 into 39th Division, which Robert described as ‘the big guns’ – the 139th Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. They enlisted voluntarily after seeing an extremely popular recruitment drive, believed to be one of the largest and fastest during which 750 men enlisted in 6.5 days. 

Their Battery arrived in France April 1916 and during their service, the brothers fought in the Battle of Polygon Wood in and the Second Battle of Passchendaelle, both in 1917, as well as others with the Heavy Artillery Group.
Robert served full time without serious injury but suffered from PTSD after the war and had chronic foot problems caused by the horrendous conditions in Passchendaele.

After the war, Robert and his brothers worked for a newspaper, finding love and marrying in 1926. Despite surviving both world wars, Robert sadly died of natural causes in his 50s, succeeded by one son and three daughters. 
Albert married his sweetheart whilst on leave in April 1916 and was later discharged because of a hand wound. Albert outlived his older brother by 20 years and died in 1965 aged 71 and it is understood that he had no children.