Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Lohet Lowdell was born in September 1858 and originally entered the Royal Navy as a Cadet in Britannia in January 1872, aged 12 years. Appointed to H.M.S. Triumph in the Mediterranean two years later, he was advanced to Midshipman and was successfully recommended for his Royal Humane Society's Medal for Lifesaving under the following circumstances:
'On 1 June 1875, H.M.S. Triumph was at Lisbon. At 5 p.m. a dinghy capsized in the River Tagus and two Seamen from the ship, Richard Smith and George Bisgrove, were in imminent danger of drowning, for the water was 21 fathoms deep. Lowdell dived into the river from the gangway, assisted Smith to get clear of the dinghy, then swam for a lifebuoy and conveyed it to him. Two other members of the Ship's Company assisted in the rescue'.
Over the following 15 years, Lowdell enjoyed a variety of other seagoing appointments, being advanced to Sub. Lieutenant in September 1878 and to Lieutenant in June 1883. But there were clearly occasions where he incurred their Lordships displeasure, not least when he refused to perform his watch-keeping duties while on passage home from China in the Tamar in February 1888. In July 1891, his second attempt to resign his Commission proved successful.
After leaving the Navy he engaged in a variety of occupations, including the theatre, transporting supplies in South America and managing a quarry business near Leicester. He later claimed that the Colonial Office had once offered him the post of Harbour Master at St. Lucia in the West Indies. In any event, on the advent of hostilities in August 1914, as with other like-minded retired Officers, Lowdell made swift moves to return to uniform, erroneously stating that he was 43 years old, when in fact he was nearly 56 years of age.
Subsequently commissioned as a Temporary Captain in the 10th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment in November 1914, he transferred, in February of the following year, as a Major, to the 7th Battalion, Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry. Arriving in France with the Battalion in July 1915, he went on to serve in the trenches near Loos and in the Ypres salient. Next appointed to the 8th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, as a Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel in January 1916, he relinquished his appointment as a result of an adverse report that May. Arriving back in Southampton in early June, he was admitted to hospital with 'neurasthenia' (shell-shock).
Remarkably, given his age and undoubted experience of trench warfare, Lowdell was passed 'fit' and returned to the 7th Battalion, D.C.L.I., with whom he participated in the Guillemont and Flers-Courcelette actions on the Somme. But once again he became the subject of an adverse report and by early November he found himself re-employed as the Assistant Military Landing Officer at Marseilles. To all intents and purposes this proved to be his last stint of service in uniform, for by the end of 1917 he had been ordered home and took up an appointment with the Road Transport Board. The Colonel died in London in May 1935, aged 76 years.