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Are you a descendant of fallen hero Jesse Rowe?
11:50am Tuesday 17th December 2013 in News
HISTORIANS are trying to trace the family of a young soldier who died during the First World War.
Jesse Rowe was killed in the Battle of Fromelles, in France, in July 1916.
Researchers believe his body was one of 250 found in a mass grave and reburied at the the Pheasant Wood Military Cemetery in France.
To positively identify him, officials need to find a relative willing to donate DNA.
Royce Atkinson, from the Australian-based Fromelles Association, said: “Walking through and seeing how many of the boys remain unidentified is especially heartbreaking when the means are available to do so. We tracked details about his family from information in the Australian National Archives and the Red Cross missing and wounded files.
“During the later stages of research we have used online resources, data from the English census and requests to a local historical society.”
Jesse’s parents were Beatrice and Albert George Rowe of Athelstan Road, Colchester.
He was born in Thorpe, on April 15, 1892, and had at least five siblings, Marion, Laura, Winifred, Grace and Edward Albert.
His mother, Beatrice, died on December 7, 1934, and his father died in Maldon Road, Colchester, on June 9, 1941.
Historians in Australia are trying to trace his family because Jesse enlisted as a private in the Australian Imperial Force on July 17, 1915.
He had gone to Australia in 1914 to join his uncle AW Howard, who owned a nursery and florist’s in South Australia.
The Battle of Fromelles was the first time the Australian Army saw action on the Western Front and has been described as one of the Allies’ worst moments.
It is believed 5,500 Australian and 2,000 British troops were killed or wounded in the fighting.
At the time of his death, Jesse was machine-gunner with the 32nd Infantry Battalion.
He was posthumously awarded the 1914/1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
So far, researchers have traced relatives of 13 of the soldiers, whose bodies were found in the grave.
If you are a descendant of Jesse Rowe, or know the whereabouts of any of his family, call the Gazette on 01206 508432.
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