Hugh Cowan 1898 1917

Hugh Cowan
Born 1st Aug 1896 Derrynasaor, Ardchattan & Muckairn.
Died 3rd May 1017 France

https://www.facebook.com/aberfeldymuseum/photos/a.1585357925079388/2177894605825714/?type=3&theater

from Aberfeldy museum FB
Hugh Cowan as Private S/15683 Hugh Cowan of the Black Watch. Son of Donald and Ann Cowan of Balnearn, Fearnan. He was called up on Wednesday, the 7th of June, 1916, at Comrie, where he had been working as a ploughman, and was posted to the 11th Battalion The Black Watch.
From this date up to the end of November, he was training at Dunfermline, before embarking at Folkestone, on Friday, the 1st of December, 1916 and landing at Boulogne on the same day. After further training at Étaples, he was soon after, transferred as Private 33495 to the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, joining them in the field on the evening of Wednesday, the 13th of December, 1916, when the battalion relieved the 7th Battalion of the King's Shropshire Light Infantry in the trenches at Serre, on the Somme. The relief, completed by 9.00 p.m., Hugh Cowan being one of 140 men who had joined that day as reinforcements. Luckily, though enemy artillery was heavy, (as was the rain), they had no casualties and they were in turn relieved by a battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment on the 16th of December. Hugh probably was in action on the 9th and 10th of April 1917 in the Arras Offensive during the First Battle of the Scarpe, but it was on Thursday the 3rd of May, 1917, that he was killed in action on the first day of the Third Battle of the Scarpe, aged 19.

His battalion part of the 8th Infantry Brigade of the 3rd Division, VI. Corps, of the Third Army. The Official History states: " The enemy obviously had foreknowledge of the attack; for, prior to its launch he deluged the front with chemical and high-explosive shell. At Zero, in fact, the field batteries were enveloped in thick clouds of gas. The detachments, wearing respirators, stuck manfully to their task. The infantry, however, was much disorganized. Most of the battalions also wore respirators during the assembly, and numbers of men who did not put them on, were overcome by vomiting. The 8th Brigade (Hugh Cowan's brigade) fell into confusion, largely owing to the fire of parties of the enemy who had been pushed forward into shell-holes and had thus avoided the British barrage. The waves of the 2nd Royal Scots and 1st Royal Scots Fusiliers becoming prematurely merged, the barrage was lost, and the attack broke down."

His body was found at map reference 57b.O.8.b.9.9., about half a mile south-east of Monchy le Preux. He was buried in Vis en Artois British Cemetery Ref VII.D.2.

Descendents of Hugh Cowan still live in the area, one being John Cowan, and another, the very famous, Jardine Robertson (Mike)


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