Charles Humphry Gow

Charles Gow was a member of Rigaud’s House from 1905 until 1908. He was the only son of the Reverend Henry Gow and his wife, Edith. He had a keen interest in Natural History, which may have developed at school; the Westminster’s Natural History Society was founded during his time at school. Upon leaving Westminster he studied at Emmanuel College, Cambridge before training as a doctor at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.

He joined the navy as a surgeon, shortly before the outbreak of the war, and served on the destroyer HMS Laforey. After returning home to complete his medical training, he served with the Royal Naval Division in Gallipoli and Salonica before going to the Western Front in early 1916. He was killed while attending to the wounded near Beaucourt-sur-Ancre, France. A letter to his father from Lieutenant Commander Bernard Ellis provides further information:

I am more sorry than I can say to have to inform you of the death of your son Surgeon C.H. Gow of this Battalion who was killed in action on the 13th. He accompanied the Battalion in an attack on the German trenches, and did splendid service attending to the wounded all day long. At dusk he went out from a captured German trench to look after wounded lying in the open, and then he was hit by machine gun fire in two places. He was brought in and died of his wounds not long afterwardsÔǪI knew him pretty well and I admired him extremely: he was so upright, honest and fearless. His last action was very typical of him, for when he was dying he wrote three notes, thinking entirely of others and not at all of himself. One note I believe has been sent to your wife; another was to direct that his medical staff should have his things and here and any parcels coming for him, the third was to recommend two of his staff for their devotion to duty — their names have been sent in for reward. I think your son was one of the finest men I have ever known, and I offer you and your wife my greatest sympathy in your loss. All the officers of this Battalion unite to praise him, and his own medical staff were quite devoted to him.

German barbed wire entanglement at Beaucourt-sur-Ancre after the village was captured on 14 November 1916, by 63rd (Royal Naval) Division during the closing phase of the Battle of the Somme.
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