Cowan, Henry Vivian


He was born on November 10th, 1854 the eldest son of Richard Cowan J.P., of Sidmouth, Devon and Elizabeth Cowan, nee Forrester.   He entered Mr. Moberly’s House from Rev. J.T. Nunn’s school at Blackheath. He passed into Woolwich in 1871 and was commisioned in the R.A. two years later.

He served in the Afghan War of 1878-1880, first with the Kurram Valley Field Force under General Sir Frederick (afterwards Field-Marshal Earl) Roberts, and later as A.D.C. to the General commanding the 3rd Division, and was mentioned in Despatches. He took part in the Egyptian War of 1882 as Adjutant of divisional artillery, and was severely wounded at the Battle of Tel-el-Kebir–an injury from which he never fully recovered. His services were recognised with the award of the brevet rank of Major (at the age of 28), and the Order of the Medjidieh, and his name appeared again in Despatches. In 1892 he graduated at the Staff College and after four years in command of a battery of the R.H.A., was apppointed Assistant Military Secretary to the General commanding Ireland. He went in 1899 to the Cape as Military Secretary to Lord Roberts and was present with him at the operations which culminated in the surrender of General Cronje at Paardeberg, and in the subsequent fighting in the Transvaal. He was appointed A.D.C. to the King with the brevet rank of Colonel, and was again mentioned in Despatches. After a year as Assistant Military Secretary at Army Headquarters his health gave way and he was unable to undertake any employment till 1904, when he was appointed Commandant of the R.M.A, Woolwich. He received the C.V.O in 1904 and the C.B. in 1908 and, suffering still from poor health, retired from the Army in 1911.

On the outbreak of war he volunteered his services in any capacity and was appointed Assistant Adjutant-General on the staff of the Irish Command – a post he held till a few months before his death. He died on January 25th, 1918.

Colonel Cowan married in 1894 Miss Mabel Laing. His Egyptian wound nearly cost him his left arm, but in spite of that he played polo and hunted with great keenness.

War: World War 1

  • Surname: Cowan
  • Forenames or initials: Henry Vivian
  • House: B
  • Years in School: 1868-1872
  • Rank: Colonel
  • Regiment: Royal Artillery
  • Date of Birth: 10th November 1854
  • Date of Death: 25th January 1918
  • How Died: Died in England
  • Location in War Cloister: Outer H1
  • Decoration: Order of the Medjidieh
  • Burial Site: BIDEFORD CHURCH CEMETERY : Grave D. 15. 18