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Remembered Today:

Captain Cowley.


vinniemac

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Just found out today that my great grandfather,Arthur George Cowley,was a Captain on the British Army who I've been told served at some time in WW1.

Now...this is detailed as it gets sadly.

He died sometime in the mid 1920's and is buried in Market Harborough.

My apologies for just how sketchy this is but we only found out by chance this morning.He,as far as we were told was born in Leicestershire but this may or may not be so.

Any help,as always,would be greatly appreciated. 

Vinnemac.

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The only Arthur George Cowley that died in England & Wales in the 1920's according to the General Registrars Office, was a 56 year old whose death was registered in the Birmingham South District in the January to March quarter, (Q1), of 1928.

The 1928 Probate Calendar records that an Arthur George Cowley of 23 Wentword Road, Harborne, Birmingham, died on the 22nd March 1928 at 42 Alfred Street, Sparkbrook, Birmingham. Probate was granted at the London Court on the 23rd May 1928 to William John Cowley, foreman, William Henry Milsom, accountant, and William Davidson, manager. His estate was valued at £1,733 6s 7d.

The most likely matching birth is that of an Arthur George Cowley, mothers' maiden name Eaton, which was registered with the civil authorities in the Farnham District of Surrey in Q1 1872.

On the 1911 Census of England & Wales there is a 39 year old Arthur George Cowley, born Aldershot, (which fell with the Farnham Civil Registration District), who is recorded as the Manager of a Fruit Preserving Works. He was the married head of the household at 87 Station Road, Harborne. He lives there with his wife of 16 years, Ellen, and their 4 living children.

No obvious officers long papers in the National Archive catalogue, and no Medal Index Card.

What's the basis of the belief he served in the Great War?

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
Typo
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vinniemac-I wonder if you have any other family details which we may be told so that we can confirm him in any records we find? Was he married, any census details available, it all helps

George

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9 hours ago, PRC said:

On the 1911 Census of England & Wales there is a 39 year old Arthur George Cowley, born Aldershot,

Random facts:

  • In 1871, the above Arthur Cowley's father William (wife Sarah) was a 'sergeant instructor of musketry' in Aldershot. He had left the Army by 1881, and had moved to Cheshire.
  • Arthur's wife Ellen was née Speakman.
  • The national archives has an air record (1918-1928) for an Arthur George Crowley, presumably a different man: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12695313. I don't have FMP.

Acknown

Edited by Acknown
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1 hour ago, Acknown said:

I don't have FMP.

Neither do I BUT:)

From what can be freely searched on FindMyPast, it would certainly appear to be a different individual, (born 1876) plus my understanding is that these are other ranks records, so difficult to square with the statement of being a Captain.

2055451608_FMPmilitaryrecordssceenshot120522.png.dc2fee065a60edbddff0dab9dcf1fd08.png

The 1921 Census of England & Wales, again via a free search, adds this individual to the mix.

1442071450_FMP1921CensusofEandW120522.png.08b18453895c3da82402b2363376b45a.png

No obvious match in the GRO death records for England & Wales, and not picking him up on the 1939 Register, (which is to be expected if he is the man who died in the 1920's). Assuming he was born in England & Wales and this was the name his birth was registered with - both BIG assumption, then the only like match is the birth of an Arthur George Cowley, mothers' maiden name Banner, which was registered with the civil authorities in the Foleshill District of Warwick in Q1 1879.

The Civil Registration District of Foleshill included such civil parishs as Ansty and Binley and Wolvey, all to the east of Coventry and which appear to be near roads that go through to Market Harborough. https://www.ukbmd.org.uk/reg/districts/foleshill.html

Still could be a massive red herring.

Looking for an Arthur Cowley whose death was recorded in the Market Harborough area at any time since 1837, the only match I'm getting is an Edward Arthur Cowley in 1999.

So more information needed from the OP I'm afraid.

While I don't wish to rattle family skeletons, even details of their son or daughter that would go on to be the OP's grand-parent would at least give us somewhere to start if nothing else is available.

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
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26 minutes ago, busterfield said:

Looks like someone else was looking for him in 2006.

https://www.curiousfox.com/uk/mbprof2.lasso?eid=94415

No replies on the thread by the locals.

The information given there is:-

I am trying to trace my Great Grandfather Arthur George Cowley, he was born in Market Harborough and as far as I know he is buried in Lubenham. He married Hannah ( Dixon) and had a daughter Constance Mary.

The marriage of an Arthur George Cowley to a Hannah Dixon was recorded in the Penrith District of Cumberland in the Q2 1904.
The birth of a Constance Mary Cowley, mothers' maiden name "Dickson", was registered in the Bedford District in Q4 1907.
On the 1911 Census of England & Wales there is a 3 year old Constance Mary Cowley, born Felmersham, Bedfordshire, who was recorded at Middle Lane, Lubenham, Market Harborough. This was the household of her parents Arthur George Cowley, (aged 30, Domestic Groom, born Stoke, Warwickshire), and Hannah Cowley, (aged 30, born Sockbridge, Cumberland). The couple have been married 6 years and the union has produced 3 children, of which 2 were then still alive. The other living child is the 5 year old Dorothy Margaret Cowley, born Brookland, Kent.

*Stoke, Warwickshire fell within the Foleshill Civil Registration District for Births, Marriages and Deaths.
** The birth of a Dorothy Margaret Cowley, mothers' maiden name Dixon, was registered with the civil authorities in the Romney Marsh District of Kent in Q1 1906.

May be a co-incidence but the death of a Hannah Cowley, aged 44, was recorded in the Market Harborough District in Q2 1923.

Cheers,
Peter

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3 hours ago, Acknown said:

The national archives has an air record (1918-1928) for an Arthur George Crowley, presumably a different man: https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12695313. I don't have FMP.

Looking at his RAF record, he was born in 1876, enlisted into the Army 30 August 1915 (no mention of regiment), he was aged 38 years 11 months. He transferred to the RAF 2 July 1918. His civilian occupation is shown as a Compositor. His forwarding address on discharge is in Wiltshire.

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Thanks everyone for your input…this is our definitive information about Arthur George Cowley.

Born 1879 inStoke,Warwickshire.Married Hannah Dickson in Penrith in 1904.He is listed as a Domestic Groom in 1911 Census at Broomberrow,Lubenham. In 1932 at his daughter Constance’s marriage he is listed as an Army Captain (see attached photo).

Hence the search for Captain Cowley!

We have no other military information at all sadly.

 

 

7915762D-49E0-4962-9068-B1741C17B608.jpeg

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1 hour ago, vinniemac said:

We have no other military information at all sadly.

In the absence of any obvious officer long papers for him, you may want to consider looking at his likely 1921 Census entry. It's unlikely that he is still in the Army, but if he's been allowed to retain the honorific title Captain or gets an Army pension then it may get a mention.

If wife Hannah was indeed the woman who died in 1923 then may also be worth checking out these mentions, available via subscription on the British Newspaper Archive website or by a subscription to FindMyPast that includes newspapers. (Most public libraries in the UK subscribe to the British Newspaper Archive, while the site also allows three free downloads when you sign up). May simply be a one line death notice, but potentially could reference her husband.

416755400_FMPscreenshot120522.png.4b759a4bf689eb90a0b38e553e652eba.png

Image courtesy of FindMyPast.

There is also the possibility of sourcing her death certificate - Arthur may have been the informant and if he had been granted the right to use the honorific Captain then it may turn up there.

There is also the possibility that when Constance married in 1932, with both parents dead and living away fron the area where she was brought up, that there might have been a bit of "grade inflation" in the status of her father.

Finally has anyone been able to find his grave at Ludenham \ Market Harborough? That would hopefully give as a minimum year of death and with that you might be able to source his death certificate.

Cheers,
Peter

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8 hours ago, PRC said:

. May simply be a one line death notice, but potentially could reference her husband.

It does mention her husband-Captain Patrick Cowley, Bombay Artillery-in a report of July 1923-Hannah was 90 so a different woman!

The two reports referenced by Peter make no mention of family

George

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Thanks to FMP

image.jpeg.3070c1afb2068579e0412e85b4bb8974.jpeg

George

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2 hours ago, George Rayner said:

It does mention her husband-Captain Patrick Cowley, Bombay Artillery-in a report of July 1923-Hannah was 90 so a different woman!

The woman who died in the Market Harborough District in Q2 1923, so likely to turn up in the June 1923 papers local to the area, was 44 according to the GRO. That ties up with the earlier census age.

The death of the 90 year old Hannah Cowley was recorded in the Hastings District of Sussex in Q3, so barring an inquest and and uncertain date of death unlikely to turn up in the June newspapers.

Unfortunately nothing obvious for either Hannah in the UK Probate Calendar  - that might have firmed up their dates of death.

Thanks for eliminating the possibility that the death announcements included husband details.

If the Hannah who died in the Market Harborough area should turn out to be the wife of Arthur George Cowley then purchase of the death certificate could still potentially provide useful information - for example, was she already a widow at that point. If not then it may well contain a home address for her, (or her husband if he was the informant). The electoral registers can then be checked to see when he stops appearing at that address. Of course he could have moved, but as he is believed to have died, that will also narrow down the period when he passed away.

Cheers,
Peter

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I have Hannah’s death cert.no mention of her husband military past, apart from him being deceased before she died in 1923.

I am struggling to grasp how a Domestic Groom in 1911can be anArmy Captain .perhaps indeed he was “awarded “higher rank as the daughter moved up in social circles.

As an aside,it was Hannah’s sister who attended her at her death,her sister was Earl Home’s butlers wife.I think this may remain a military”mystery”.

Edited by vinniemac
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Do you have any idea when he died?

It must have been in that very short time frame between 1921 census and her death. Wonder if there is an electoral roll or two it narrow it further

George

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10 hours ago, George Rayner said:

Thanks to FMP

image.jpeg.3070c1afb2068579e0412e85b4bb8974.jpeg

George

George - do you have the name of the Pub from that? Licensee records may be available or there may be a reference to his death in the newspapers in connection with that.

Cheers,
Peter

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Sorry haven’t checked yet Peter-been a busy day. Don’t think there was anything on the census page though

 

George

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On 13/05/2022 at 16:08, vinniemac said:

I have Hannah’s death cert.no mention of her husband military past, apart from him being deceased before she died in 1923.

I am struggling to grasp how a Domestic Groom in 1911can be anArmy Captain .perhaps indeed he was “awarded “higher rank as the daughter moved up in social circles.

Hannah's death certificate is posted to an online tree on ancestry. This shows no address of death, she is the wife of Arthur George Cowley, Licensed Victualler. If he had pre-deceased him I would expect it to say "widow of".

As one of the posts mentions Lubenham as a possible burial place, had a quick look for pubs in Lubenham, and in 1964 there were two, the Coach & Horses & the Paget Arms.

This article is close to the 1923 death of Hannah.

image.png.8828881eb032140523a74e4ec02acdc3.png

image courtesy of British Newspaper Archives

Other newspaper reports in the BNA index show that the Coach & Horses licence was passed in 1929 from John ?Tatlby Smith to William Thomas Gordon & in 1936 it was taken over by Charles Alfred Richard "Dick" Coleman a Leicestershire county cricketer.

At the Paget Arms in 1925 a Mrs Coleman hosts a football club function & in 1932 Mr Alfred Coleman, landlord of the Paget Arms passes away.

 

I can only speak generaly about commissions from the ranks.  It was not unheard of for men to be commissioned from the ranks if they showed leadership abilities & rising to higher rank (albeiit often a temporary one) would have been faster than in peacetime. Although in the early war years it did depend on your background and education, this changed as officer losses mounted.

I expect others have searched for this but there were also British officers attached to the Indian Army & British nationals held commissions in the Indian Army.  Perhaps easy for this to appear on the marriage certificate as British Army.

 

Travers

 

 

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9 minutes ago, travers61 said:

As one of the posts mentions Lubenham as a possible burial place, had a quick look for pubs in Lubenham, and in 1964 there were two, the Coach & Horses & the Paget Arms.

Great thinking. The entry for Lubenham in the 1908 edition of Kellys Directory for Leicestershire also only shows the Coach & Horses and the Paget Arms. https://cdm16445.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/p15407coll9/id/22466/rec/4

A History of the County of Leicestershire produced in 1964 lists those two pubs at Lubenham, although referencing another that existed in the 1820's for completeness. https://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/leics/vol5/pp220-229

According to the Lubenham Heritage Group the 1820 pub was renamed the Paget Arms.http://lubenhamheritagegroup.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Lubenham_trail_web.pdf

But the list of licensees remained elusive. Of course we don't actually know if he was a licensee of a pub in Lubenham or elsewhere in the Market Harborough area.

Taking an alternative approach I then went through the UK Probate Calendar from 1923 to 1935, but apart from the Harborne man there were no other Arthur George Cowley's.

So still nothing to add anything of substance to back up the daughters statements on her 1932 wedding register entry that her father was deceased and an Army Officer.

Cheers,
Peter

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Thanks to you all once again for your help and input regarding"Captain" Cowley.

Perhaps one day we will stumble across the answer to this conundrum. 

Vinniemac

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  • 2 weeks later...

Discovered that Constance(now Mitchell) remarried in 1940 to a Richard Hunt.

Arthur now appears on this marriage certificate listed as “Riding Master”!!
I know this was sometimes a military title given to a senior riding instructor.The plot thickens.

regards

Vinniemac

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