Pte
James "Jim" Rowlands

Information about birth

Year of birth:
1885
Place of birth:
Aberystwyth, Wales, Wales, United Kingdom

General information

last known residence:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Profession:
Bank clerk
Religion:
Methodist

Army information

Country:
Australia
Force:
Australian Imperial Force
Rank:
Private
Service number:
4660
Enlistment date:
21/08/1915
Enlistment place:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Units:
 —  Australian Infantry, 7th Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
04/10/1917
Place of death:
Brick Kiln & Yard, Zonnebeke, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)
Age:
32

Cemetery

Tyne Cot Cemetery
Plot: XXXVI
Row: D
Grave: 1

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 ‘Place of death’

My story

James ‘Jim’ Rowlands, a former bank clerk, was born in June 1885 in Aberystwyth, Wales, UK. In 1912, he moved to Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. He was the son of William and Margaret Rowlands. On August 21, 1915 he enlisted in Melbourne and embarked from Melbourne on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on January 28, 1916, with the 14th reinforcement of the 7th Battalion, part of the 2nd Australian Brigade of the 1st Australian Division.

On the 4th of October 1917 the 1st Australian Division participated in the Battle of Broodseinde, a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. The Division had to advance on the right of the village of Zonnebeke and had to capture and secure the Broodseinde Ridge and a part of the Passchendaele-Beselare Road. Its attack was carried by two Brigades. The 1st Australian Brigade and 2nd Australian Brigade. The 2nd Australian Brigade firstly attacked with the 8th Battalion. Once they had captured the first objective the 6th and 7th Battalions would move through to the second objective.

The 7th battalion was in position at about 03.30 a.m. While it lay waiting till the sign to attack the Battalion was frequently shelled. At 05.30 the German artillery laid down a heavy barrage on the rear assembly positions, causing heavy casualties. At the same time the 8th battalion advanced behind a creeping barrage. The 7th battalion left for the old frontline a half an hour later. When crossing the old frontline the 6th and 7th Battalions crowded on the left flank. Both Battalions quickly came under fire from Retaliation Farm, which was eventually taken by the 6th Battalion.

In the meanwhile the 8th Battalion had advanced through the marsh and tree stumps of Romulus and Remus Woods, north of the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek. They arrived at the first objective, the red line, around 07.15 a.m. At 08.00 a.m. the 7th and 6th Battalions moved through the 8th Battalion and carried on the advance. While going up the ridge the 7th Battalion was now fired upon from a trench position near Celtic Wood and also from distant positions on the Keiberg. The Battalion managed to silence the position and started consolidating the Blue Line round 08.40 a.m.

No counter-attacks were launched and the Battalion kept on holding the line till they were relieved on the 8th of October.

James, aged 32, was killed in action on October 4, 1917. Private Rowlands was initially buried where he fell, near Brick Kiln & Yard (28.D.28.a.20.00). His remains were exhumed and reinterred in the Tyne Cot Cemetery, Plot 36, Row D, Grave 1.

Sources 4

2nd Brigade Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/2/30).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
7th Battalion Australian Infantry (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM4 23/24/32).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used
First Australian Imperial Force Personnel Dossiers, 1914-1920 (National Archives of Australia, Canberra (NAA), B2455).
https://www.naa.gov.au/
Sources used
Unit embarkation nominal rolls, 1914-18 War (Australian War Memorial, Campbell (AWM), AWM8).
https://www.awm.gov.au/
Sources used

More information 4