Arthur William Spring Cowie


He is buried in grave VII-H-7 at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France.

Arthur William Spring Cowie was originally a private [ No. 434] in the Hunts Cyclists, he came from Hamerton, Huntingdonshire, now Cambridgeshire, to enlist in the Hunts. Cyclists at Huntingdon some time before the 23/7/1915 when he first comes to light in the records.

He was later transferred to the 7th Lincolnshire Regt - where as a Temp. Second Lieutenant he was killed in action on the 8th July 1916. He is buried in Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France in grave number VII-H-7.

From a local newspaper dated 21/8/1914 = 'Motor Cyclists on service. - Lance-Corpls. Allpress Ruston (St. Ives), A. W. S. Cowie (Hamerton), C. W. Peacock (Huntingdon), R. M. Woolley (Huntingdon), R. P. Warren (Peterborough), C.A. Bryant (Huntingdon), T. Patterson (Peterborough), went by road on Wednesday to join the Hunts. Cycle Battalion at Hornsea, Yorks, the distance being 150 miles. '

His name is on memorials in Stamford, Lincolnshire - where he worked - and at Stamford School. Classics master at Stamford School before war Mentioned in Stamford Mercury in Nov 1914 as a "despatch rider" = Commissioned in Lincolnshire Regt London Gazette shows transferring from "reserve" to "regular" Lincolns Dec 1915. The relevant section from Miles' obituary:

"He was killed on 15 February 1916, his death occurring under the following circumstances, as narrated by Lieut. A W S Cowie, formerly Classical master at Stamford Grammar School, who performed one of the unrecorded acts of bravery in trying to assist Pte. Miles after he received his mortal wound, and was himself shot in the shoulder whilst with him, but managed to get to a dressing station. The 7th Lincolnshire's had been holding what was known as the International Trench, and were relieved by another regiment. A few hours later the trench was captured by the Germans, mainly through the explosion of mines, and the 7th Lincolnshire's were recalled to retake the trench. After fierce fighting they were so reduced in number that it was necessary to send for reinforcements, and Pte. Miles was sent with a message to headquarters. In order to get there as quickly as possible, it was necessary to go along a trench which was dominated by the enemy posted on a high embankment called The Bluff, on which a number of enemy snipers who could fire into the trench. Pte Miles kept steadily on his way until he came to a part of the trench which had been blown in by the terrific bombardment, and it was whilst climbing over the debris which filled the trench that he was shot: dying later in the day. Beyond the attempt of Lieut Cowie his comrades were unable to offer any assistance."

Arthur's wound is recorded in the Stamford Mercury as being wounded in a mid Feb 1916 edition.

And his death in the 28 July 1916 edition: "LOCAL OFFICER KILLED - The official casualty list published on Sunday confirmed the rumour that reached the ears of his friends in Stamford that 2nd LT A W S Cowie, Lincs Regt had been killed in action, presumably in the "big push" on the Western Front". The news has been received with deep regret for he was very popular here. At the outbreak of the war he was classics master at the Grammar School, a position he had held for about 3 and half years. He immediately enlisted in the Hunts Cyclist Corps but in Jan of last year he was gazetted to a lieutenancy in the Lincolns, which enabled him to gratify his desire to get to the front speedily. After completing his course, he went out with a draft in October last, and was slightly wounded in the right arm in February. returning to duty abroad in a very short time."

Wounded 15th Feb at the Bluff-G S W to shoulder while attempting to bring in Pte Alfred Miles. Wrote to Miles' parents concerning his death. (From Miles' entry in Rutland and the Great War).

Commemorated at Stamford's Town War memorial and at Stamford School.

The Following data was kindly supplied by James Davies whi is a relation of Arthur - many thanks to him for this data.

From Attestatlion paper:  Born-Shillong (sp), India 
Age - 28 years, 6 months
Cadet unit service-Yes, Blundell OTC
Dated 18 August 1914
Height-5 feet, 10 1/4 inches
Chest fully expanded-38 1/2 inches
Range if expansion-2 inches
Visison Good
Discharged at Filet (sp) 27 Jan 1915 "for purpose of being approved to a commission"

Next of kin-brother-Major H. E. C. Cowie DSO, Royal Engineers

From a letter to his brother, 26 Feb 1916 from the War Office - Appointed L/Cpl-24th Aug 1914  -
Discharged 27 Jan 1915  - Appointed T/2nd Lt 28 Jan 1915

After being wounded in Feb 1916 he wrote asking to be sent back to his battalion. Didn't copy them down, but  he was due to go on leave when wounded, returned home, attended hospital at Huntingdon briefly, granted an extension of leave, passed fit for service but never received orders to return to
France. Without kit or pay, he sends a series of letters asking to rejoin his battalion.  It does not appear to have  been finally sorted out until the start of May 1916.

Applicant for Commission: DoB-8 Mar 1886 -  Address-F Company, Hunts Cyclist Battalion stationed at Bridlington, Yorkshire.  Able to ride-"a little"
Previous military experience-Blundell's School Cadet Corps 1900-4. Despatch rider in MCS of HCB since 20 Aug 1914  -  this was dated 11 Dec 1914

Casualty Form-Active Service- Embarked Folkstone 2 Oct 1915  -  Disemabrked Boulogne 2 Oct 1915
Joined battalion 15 Oct 1915 -  wounded (still at duty) 15 Feb 1916 -  Leave 18 feb-24 Apr 1916  -
Rejoined battalion 11 may 1916  -  Killed in action  July 1916.  [

In his Probate it shows a "Frances" as the grantee of the will.

The webmaster visited this this cemetery three times and paid respects to his memory - the latest being July 2005.

If you can help with any data on this Huntingdonshire Cyclist please contact me at

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. . Martyn Smith