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Harry John Gordon Low



  • Title
  • Forenames
    Harry John Gordon AWMM
  • Surname
    Low AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    • 13251 AWMM
    • 30071 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    27 April 1919 AWMM NelsonTasman AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    • Unknown AWMM 27 Brook Street, Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
    • Unknown AWMM 27 Brook Street, Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
    • Jayforce Unknown AWMM 27 Brook Street, Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    • Mrs E.M. Low (mother), 27 Brook Street, Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
    • Mrs Y.O. Low (wife), 7 Bronte Street, Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
    • Jayforce Mrs Y.O. Low (wife), 7 Bronte Street, Nelson, New Zealand AWMM
  • Relationship status


Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
    • North Africa AWMM
    • Italy AWMM
    • 1948-1960 AWMM
      The Malayan Emergency AWMM
      The Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) After the defeat of the Japanese in WWII, a new problem emerged for Malaya. In 1948 Chinese guerrilla fighters (who had been armed and air supplied by the British during the war) emerged from the jungle and under Chin Peng, began their terror campaign to take over the country by force. Thus an intense jungle war began, fought by the British, British Commonwealth and Malay forces against the Malayan Communist Party. The Australian Government of the day, along with many others in the Western bloc, was apprehensive about the spread of international communism. Initially there was not much coordination between security forces until Lt.-Gen.Sir Harold Briggs was appointed as Director of Operations in 1949. His war executive committees (including Sir Henry Gurney) coordinated emergency operations, and created 500 new villages for Malayan citizens who lived in remote areas beyond government protection. These citizens had lived in constant fear that the Communists would appear and force them to supply food and money. Travelling was dangerous as a Communist ambush could lurk behind any roadside bush. So, by depriving the insurgents of their crucial sources of supplies and information, the Communists began to attack the new settlements. But the security forces were now fighting on their own ground, and proved to be too strong for the Communists. These forces were able to concentrate on jungle operations, thereby destroying the Communists and their camps. This was the longest continuous military commitment in Australia's history. It was to be the only war the West had won against Communism. The Emergency lasted for twelve years, ending in 1960. Australia suffered 15 killed and 27 wounded in action. From AWMM
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    • 13251 AWMM
    • 30071 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    • Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) AWMM
      DSO citation: "In recognition of gallant and distinguished services in Malaya during the period 1st July to 31st December 1954. Lieutenant Colonel Low has commanded the 1st Battalion, Fiji Infantry Regiment, since 1st October 1953. During this time, his Battalion has had a record of achievement against the Communist terrorists in Malaya that is second to none. But for the outstanding leadership, drive and acumen of its Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Low, this could never have happened. He has had many difficulties to contend with. First, there is the crafty and treacherous nature of the enemy. In combating this, Lieutenant Colonel Low has shown himself indomitable. Cool in council, swift in action and undaunted in danger, he is a magnificent man of action and an inspiration to all about him. Next, there has been a complete turn-over of the rank and file of his Battalion, and a large proportion of the officers, during the year. Under a lesser man, in these circumstances, the Battalion may have faltered. But Lieutenant Colonel Low, almost single-handed, preserved the soul of his Battalion and inspired the new drafts of officers and men with his own enthusiasm and dash. Finally, the Fijians were serving thousands of miles from their native soil, many of them separated from their homes and families for the first time and without having behind them any long traditions of overseas service. Again, due to the unfailing leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Low, morale remained as high as ever, the rank and file being contented, happy and successful. Through these vicissitudes, Lieutenant Colonel Low's inspiration and leadership have been quite outstanding, and but for this, his Battalion could never have succeeded as it has done. He has displayed the highest qualities of leadership in the best traditions of New Zealand's famous fighting men." (London Gazette, 31 May 1955) AWMM
    • Military Cross (MC) AWMM
      21 June 1945 AWMM
      The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Low, Henry John Gordon. (Ref. WO 373/12/652). Military Cross. AWMM
    • 1939-1945 Star AWMM
    • Africa Star (8th Army clasp) AWMM
    • Italy Star AWMM
    • Defence Medal AWMM
    • War Medal 1939-1945 with oak leaf AWMM
    • New Zealand War Service Medal AWMM
    • General Service Medal 1918-62 (Malaya clasp) AWMM
    • Efficiency Decoration (ED) AWMM
    • Sultan Ibrahim Diamond Jubilee Medal (Malaysia) AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
    WW2 Unknown AWMM Clerk AWMM
    NelsonTasman AWMM
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWII AWMM
    Wounded 5 November 1942 AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Served as Platoon Commander with 23 Battalion

    Promoted to Major and Company Commander

    Joined Regular Army in 1947 as Major

    Promoted to Lt Colonel and served as Commanding Officer (CO) of 1 Battalion, Fiji Infantry Regiment, 1953-55

    Served as Director Plans Army HQ, 1957-59

    Served as Director Recruiting in 1959

    Retired in 1961

    Col H. J. G. Low, DSO, MC, ED, m.i.d.; Wellington; born Nelson, 27 Apr 1919; clerk; wounded 5 Nov 1942; Director of Plans, Army HQ, 1957–59; Director of Recruiting, 1959–61. (Source: Kay, R. Italy Volume II : From Cassino to Trieste. p.317.) AWMM
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About death

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  • Death
    2003 AWMM
    New Zealand AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 3: WW2 278 AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1945). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 14 (Embarkations from 1st April, 1944 to 31st December, 1944). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 14: WW2 57 AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1950). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 16 (Embarkations from 1st January, 1946 to 30th June, 1948). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      WW2 16: WW2 77 AWMM
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
    • Ross, A. (1959). 23 Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
    • Kay, R. (1967). Italy. Volume 2. From Cassino to Trieste. Dept. of Internal Affairs, Historical Publications Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
      p.317. AWMM

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