Shot Through The Heart – David Fowler 1895-1915

David Fowler was killed in action in Gallipoli on 12 July 1915. David and I are descendants of Robert Symington and Alison Anderson who were his great grandparents and my 4x great grandparents.

Ancestry can provide a fair bit of information in relation to military service. It was through the site that I first learned of his death. From there I checked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website which honours the 1.7 million men and women of the Commonwealth forces who were killed during the First and Second World Wars. There I was able to download this certificate.

From there I checked the newspapers and found the above article which gives more information about how David died. It may have been of some comfort to his father knowing that his death was instantaneous but I find it incredibly sad.

David was one of 9 children. He was born in Catrine, Ayrshire. By the time he enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers he had lost his mother, Martha and elder sister, Helen. He had known some tough times but had his whole life ahead of him. The newspapers describes him as “a young man of fine physique”. His loss would have been felt greatly in his family and in the small community where he lived. I doubt that his family would ever have been able to visit his grave but he is also commemorated on the Catrine war memorial.

One thought on “Shot Through The Heart – David Fowler 1895-1915

  1. Hi Paula,

    I came across your blog whilst researching members of my own family tree who perished in the World Wars. I found it to be an enjoyable read, and thought you may be interested to learn some related info (which may or may not be new to you).

    David was my 2nd cousin 2x removed through his great-grandfather Robert Fowler (1805-1855), who was my 3x great-grandfather.

    His military career, like so many others of his generation, was tragically short, for he enlisted with the 52nd Lowland Division, 155th Brigade, 1/5th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on 11 May 1915. 10 days later, his battalion disembarked from Liverpool for Gallipoli aboard RMS Mauretania. They arrived first in Mudros, Greece, on 29 May 1915, before moving on to land in Gallipoli on 7 Jun 1915. John Buchan’s “History of Royal Scots Fusiliers” details the campaign, and in an excerpt, describes that immediately upon landing, the men were sent to the front lines of battle to relieve the 29th Division who had faced heavy battle a few days earlier. There then followed an uneasy period of waiting in the congested area whilst victories elsewhere cleared a path for the final assault on the Turkish front between Kereves Dere and Achi Baba nullah, with the date 12th July 1915 set for the attack. David’s brigade, the 155th, attacked the centre in 4 waves, with his battalion, the 5th R.S.F. serving in reserve. It was during this battle that David was killed in action.

    His death was reported in a local newspaper, the following of which is a transcript of the piece:



    Private David Fowler, reported killed, is the second son of Mr Alexander Fowler, Wood Street, Catrine. He was a young man of fine physique, and was a member of Catrine Coy. of Territorials, where he acted as a bandsman for a time. He was well known as a football player, and was of a cheerful and happy disposition. his death will be regretted by a wide circle of friends.

    Later information regarding the death of Pte. Fowler was conveyed to his father by his brother-in-law, Drummer Wm. Biggar, who is in hospital at Cairo with a wounded head. He says:- “I am sorry to write you about David being killed. He and a Troon chap were going a message when he was shot through the heart; but we have something to be proud of, for Davie died like a hero. He was always merry and bright, and is very much missed in his Company. Officers and men extend their sincerest sympathy to you in your loss.”


    You may also be interested to learn that Private Robert Fowler, listed directly beneath David on the Catrine War Memorial, was his 1st cousin 1x removed (David’s grandfather Patrick Fowler’s brother Hugh Fowler’s son).

    I hope you found this of interest, and look forward to any other posts regarding this branch of our connected trees that you may publish.


    Steven Fowler

    Liked by 2 people

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