He was the second son of Sir Austin Low of The Old House, Wexham, Slough, Buckinghamshire. His mother was Mary Stephanie Low, the daughter of Stephen Octavius Jay. He entered Sergeant’s’ (then the Reverend F.M.A. Hewett’s) House, in Short Half 1901. Nicknamed Punch because of his happy nature, he was in Commoner XV in 1906, and took part in the famous match against OTH, in which the score at “Hour” was eight goals all. Both captains claimed extra time, which was allowed, and OTH won 9-8. In 1907 he rowed in Freshfield Cup, and the winning Burne Cup crew, and rowed “3” in a strong School IV which beat St. Paul’s and Cheltenham and rowed a dead heat with Tonbridge at Tonbridge.
In 1910 he joined the family banking firm of Grindlay & Co. becoming a partner in 1913. On July 10th 1913 he married the Honourable Lucy Gwen Atkin, daughter of the Right Honourable Sir James Richard Atkin, Baron Atkin, and his wife Lucy Elizabeth Atkin. With her he had three children: Sir Toby Austin Richard William Low (G 1927-33), 1st Baron Aldington, who was Senior Commoner Prefect, and like his father won the DSO. He went on to become Warden of the College from 1979 to 1987; Charles Stuart Low; and Gwen Mary Patience Low.
In the First World War Stuart Low served with great distinction with the Royal Artillery (Territorial Army), which he had joined in 1910. He was mentioned twice in Despatches and won the DSO. In 1920 he became Lieutenant-Colonel, RA, and on retirement in 1926 Brevet Colonel and Honorary Colonel. By 1929 he and his first wife had divorced and he had married Phyllis Lacey (née Falk) on November 13th 1929; they lived at 54 Parliament Street, London.
He died, aged fifty-four, in the sinking of MV Henry Stanley on December 7th 1942. The Henry Stanley was a British-registered merchant ship of 5000 tons, owned by Elder Dempster Lines of Liverpool. She departed Liverpool on November 26th 1942 as part of convoy ON-149, carrying a cargo of four thousand tons which included explosives and two thousand mail bags. ON-149 was bound for Freetown and Lagos, but the convoy became dispersed.
She was sunk by U-103, captained by Gustav-Adolf Janssen. U-103 was a very successful vessel, which sank forty-eight Allied ships without suffering a single casualty herself throughout the war (1940-1945) until she was destroyed by a bomb at Kiel in 1945.
At 2359 on December 6th 1942 the Henry Stanley was hit in the fore-part by a torpedo fired by U-103, about six hundred miles north-west of the Azores. The survivors abandoned ship and took to the life-boats. At 0140 U-103 fired a second torpedo to finish the Henry Stanley off; it struck the vessel just aft of the bridge, and the vessel disintegrated in a large explosion. U-103 surfaced and questioned the survivors, taking the master, Richard Jones, on board as a prisoner. Jones stayed with U-103 until it returned to its home port of Lorient on December 29th, whereupon he was sent to the naval prisoner-of-war camp at Milag Nord.
Jones was the lucky one. None of the lifeboats was ever seen again: forty-four crew members, eight gunners and eleven passengers were lost.
- Surname: Low
- Forenames or initials: Stuart
- House: G
- Years in School: 1901-1907
- Rank: Lieutenant Colonel (rtd)
- Regiment: Royal Artillery
- Date of Birth: 1st December 1888
- Date of Death: 7th December 1942
- How Died: Killed by enemy action
- Location in War Cloister: Not commemorated
- Decoration: DSO, TD
- Burial Site: No known grave