Cowan, Michael Harry Tennant (1921-1945)
Sherborne School, UK, Book of Remembrance for former pupils who died in the Second World War, 1939-1945.
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Credit: Sherborne School Archives, Abbey Road, Sherborne, Dorset, UK, DT9 3AP.
Details: Michael Harry Tennant Cowan (1921-1945), born 27 November 1921, son of Major-General David Tennant Cowan, C.B., C.B.E., D.S.O., M.C., and Anne Elliot Tennant Cowan, of Bovey Tracey, Devon (formerly of Torquhan, Stow, Midlothian).
Attended Cargilfield Preparatory School, Midlothian.
Attended Sherborne School (Lyon House) September 1935-July 1940; 6th form; School Prefect; Head of House; Sergeant in OTC; 1st XI Hockey (1940); 3rd XI cricket (1940, capt.); PT Instructor with Badge; member of the Duffers.
To Military College, India.
WW2, Major, 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles. Died of wounds received at Shwebo, Burma, in the advance on Mandalay, on 6 March 1945, aged 23.
Originally buried at Mandalay War Cemetery and reburied at Taukkyan War Cemetery, Myanmar, 18. A. 17 www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2084991/cowan,-michae...
Sherborne School: War Memorial Staircase; Book of Remembrance; Lyon House War Memorial.
Obituary, 'The Shirburnian', July 1945: 'Michael Tennant Cowan, Major, Royal Ghurka Rifles (g, '35-'40), was head of Cargilfield and Captain of Games there before coming to Sherborne. He was hampered by very late physical development, and but for this, and consequent lack of weight, would have done very well at football. He became Head of his House, was one of the two best Hockey players in the School XI, was a useful slow bowler and Squash player, but he was more still a soldier imbued with the traditions and spirit of the Gurkhas. A keen rider in the Lauderdale country, he and his hunting horn were inseparable, and often enough it took the place of the House bell; and a spectator of the Coronation procession was almost overcome by it when the Scottish regiment marched past. Cowan went to Bangalore and then in 1940 to the 1/6th Gurkhas. He was sent to Australia and New Guinea to learn jungle fighting, having now reached his full stature, he was in the thick of the fighting in Burma where he died while being operated on after a very bad wound, brave and uncomplaining to the end. His friends loved him for what he was, a great soldier in the making, a great gentleman and as loyal a comrade as a man could find. An older officer says of him "I have never met such a mentally balanced man of 21. Physically he was terrific. He always saw to it that his Company could go further than any other on what they could carry with them. Once in Madras heat they did fifty miles in 33 hours." His C.O. says he has never seen his men so upset by anything as by his death.'