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Don Neal

6th Bn K.S.L.I.

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Lt RF (Rod) Gow

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 disruption.

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.


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