• Stanley Fowler

Army / Flying Corps
  • 2nd Brigade
  • Private

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  • Victory Medal
  • British War Medal
  • Enlistment - WW1

    Melbourne VIC, Australia

  • Birth

    Williamstown, VIC, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Stanley Fowler
    • Posted by therest9, Wednesday, 16 August 2017

    Stanley Fowler is best remembered for his work with the Australian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in particular his aerial photographs of pelagic fish occurrences off Australia’s coasts. Born on 23 November 1895 at Williamstown in Melbourne, Victoria, he was the seventh child of mechanical fitter Robert Fowler and his wife Emily Sarah (née Booley). He left his state education early, working as a labourer and clerk with the Victorian Railways until 1914 when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force with the 5th Infantry Battalion, assembled within two weeks of the British declaration of war against Germany. Fowler was severely wounded on numerous occasions throughout his service, most notably during the second wave landing of the Gallipoli campaign on 25 April—famously known as Anzac Day. He was admitted to a general hospital in Heliopolis, Egypt where he stayed and recovered until re-joining his battalion at Anzac on 28 August. With the Allied withdrawal from Gallipoli later in the following year, however, Fowler’s battalion was sent to the Western Front in France for operations against German bastions. During his first action in the Battle of Pozières—a struggle that ultimately saw 23,000 Australian casualties—he was shot first in the leg and then again between the eyes by an enemy sniper. Although he miraculously survived, in the very same battle his brother John Orten, enlisted with the 6th Battalion, was killed by similar gunshot wounds. Invalided to an auxiliary hospital in Harefield, England, Fowler was eventually discharged for return to Australia. He received several medals for his service. The rest of Fowler’s life was marred with discomfort from the injuries he sustained during the First World War. In spite of this he went on to work, joining the Commonwealth Bureau of Commerce and Industry in March 1920. A year later he married Agnes Maud Lewis; their marriage remained that of a childless one and they later divorced. Shifting his focus to fisheries development and management he worked as a research officer with the 1927 Development and Migration Commission and later the CSIR—the precursor of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). He became familiarly known as “The Admiral” and “Peg Leg” amongst colleagues due to his injuries. The aerial photographs for which he is most renowned were a result of his tagging along on Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) coastal patrols and training flights of before and after the Second World War. Indeed, Fowler essentially pioneered the modern exploratory technique of aerial reconnaissance in low-flying aircraft. His entire photograph collection remains of national significance, comprising over 13,000 photographs portraying Australian coastal waters and its fisheries industry. After over twenty years’ work with the CSIR, he retired in 1948 on the grounds of deteriorating health. In 1961, Fowler died of a coronary occlusion at the Anzac Hostel in Brighton, Victoria. His ashes rest in Springvale Botanical Cemetery and his life work with the CSIRO and the National Archives of Australia.