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Ken Smith, 2007
Private Harry Edward Cowley

15180 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment

Son of Mr Jabez and Mrs Harriet Cowley

Aged 21 years

Died 27th September 1915

Commemorated on the Loos Memorial
Panel 91 to 93
And in Rushden Cemetery
Grave F.55

Harry before he enlisted
Harry before he enlisted
Born and enlisted at Rushden.
In loving memory of Jabez COWLEY who died July 4th 1928 aged 64 years. Also of Harriett his beloved wife who died April 3rd 1935 aged 72 years. Also their son Harry Edward killed in action in France 1915 aged 20 years. Reunited.
The Rushden Echo Friday 8 October 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Killed - Shot by a Sniper - Private Harry Cowley of the 7th Northants

News has been received by Mrs Brown, of Irthlingborough, via a letter from her son, Pte A Brown, 7th Northants, that Pte H Cowley, B Co., 7th Northants, son of Mr and Mrs J Cowley, of Church street, Rushden, has been killed in France in the recent advance. Pte Brown says:-

"It happened on Sunday morning, Sept 26 about 11.30. We were talking about what we should be doing if we were at home, when we had the order to retire, as a party of Germans were blowing the trench that we were in and part of the communication trench had been blown in by a shell. It was going over that Pte Harry Cowley was killed. I was just in front of him and we were laughing and joking about Sunday at home when I heard the report of a sniper's rifle and threw myself down, but he was just too late. It had him between the eyes, killing him instantly."

Pte Cowley was only 20 years old, and was formerly employed by Mr Harry Jaques, of Rushden. He enlisted on Sept 7th 1914.

Evening Telegraph, Saturday 9th October 1915, transcribed by John Collins.

Rushden Man Killed

We are sorry to report that Pte. H. Cowley, of “B” Company, 7th Northants Regiment, has been killed in France. The news is sent by Pte. A. Brown, of Irthlingborough, who reports that Pte. Cowley was hit by a sniper’s bullet whilst he was climbing a parapet during a slight retirement. The deceased soldier was the son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Cowley, of Church-street, Rushden. He enlisted in September, 1914, and was formerly employed by Mr. H. Jacques.

E Harry Cowley Harry Cowley
Private Harry Cowley

Evening Telegraph, Thursday 28th October 1915 & Rushden Echo, 29th October 1915, transcribed by John Collins.

Rushden Athlete Sniped

Mr. J. Cowley, of 17 Church-street, Rushden has received official intimation of the death, in action, of his son, Private Edward Harry Cowley, of the 7th Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment, which took place at Loos about September 25th or 27th. The deceased soldier used to work at Mr H. Jacques factory, and joined the Army in September of last year. He was a member of the gymnasium at the Independent Wesleyan Church, Rushden.

Private A. Brown, of Irthlingborough, his comrade, wrote as follows:- "It is with great regret that I have to tell you of the death of your dear son Harry. We were together on Sunday, September 27th, and the order came we were to retire from our trench. One part of the trench through which we had to go was blown up by a shell, and it was going across this space that he was hit. We both heard the report of the snipers rifle and I, being in front, just managed to get across But poor Harry was hit in the head and killed instantly. Just before he was hit we were talking of home, and it was with these thoughts of home that he died. I cannot tell you how much we miss him - he was such a jolly fellow, and they are the sort we miss most. He was also a real good pal, and they are hard to replace. I extend to you the deepest sympathy, as do also what is left of the platoon, in your bereavement".

Private E. King also of Irthlingborough, wrote stating the deceased was killed in the battle of Loos, and speaks of the great shock it was to him, as Private Cowley was 'such a chum’.

The Rushden Echo Friday 12 November 1915, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Soldier Killed - Private H Cowley - Official News

Mrs Cowley, of Church street, Rushden, has received official confirmation of the death of her son, Pte Harry Cowley, 7th Northants, already unofficially reported in the "Rushden Echo". The message from the War Office is accompanied by the usual message from Lord Kitchener, expressing the deep sympathy of the King and Queen.

The Rushden Echo Friday 28 January 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

How Rushden Men Fell - Lce-Cpl Frank Smith's Experiences

......Lce-Corpl Smith was formerly a member of the Rushden Town Male choir and since he has been at the front conducted a choir formed from members of his platoon. There were, he says, other male choirs in the company, and on one occasion a competition was held, the officers adjudicating. The competition was open only to the right half companies - A and B - and eight choirs entered.

Lce-Corpl Smith's choir was awarded first prize, the piece they sang being "Way down yonder in the cornfield." "Nearly all the members of the choir were found either wounded, killed or missing, after the battle of Loos," said Lce-Corpl. Smith. "It broke the choir up. The late Harry Cowley, of Church street, Rushden, used to sing second tenor in the choir, but, as reported in the "Rushden Echo", he was killed at Loos. I didn't actually see him fall, but he was in the same trench as I was, and his pals told me subsequently that he was struck in the back of the head by a bullet as he was passing a gap in the parapet."

The Wellingborough News Friday 4 February 1916, transcribed by Nicky Bates

Rushden Signaller and Weeping Gas

Lce-Corpl Signaller F Smith, of the 7th Northants, son of Mr and Mrs James Smith, of 67 High street, South, Rushden, has just been home on leave after five months fighting the Germans. The Lance-Corporal is a keen vocalist and was a member of the Rushden Town Male Choir. Out in France he formed a choir, and they held a competition, Smith's choir winning. After the battle of Loos nearly all the choir were wounded or missing. He was hi the thick of it at Loos, and joined in a charge in support of a Scottish regiment. He got separated from his unit, when occupying the Hohenzollern redoubt, and had to spend two days with the Scots. When he rejoined his regiment he was sorry to learn that they had suffered early 500 casualties. He found to his grief that Horace Britten and Jack Smith of Rushden were missing, and Harry Cowley was killed. He mentioned his first taste of "weeping gas." At the time they had coke fires and they were swearing at the men who made them. The tears were running down their face, and their eyes were smarting awful. Then Major Morris ordered them to put their goggles on, as it was German gas.

Rushden Echo, 29th September 1916

In loving remembrance of our dear son Pte. Harry Cowley, who died a hero’s death in the service of his King and Country at Loos, September 25th, 1915.

He sleeps not in his native land,
But under foreign skies;
Far from those who loved him best,
In a hero’s grave he lies.
Not gone from memory,
Not gone from love,
But gone to the Father’s home above.

This information was also passed to Clive Wood.
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