54 Squadron, Royal Flying Corps, 22nd October 1917
Circumstances of Death
George Cowie was killed as a result of a collision when his unit was engaged in air combat against an enemy formation, he was flying a Sopwith Pup serial No.B1782 when it collided with Sopwith Pup No. B1834, flown by 2nd Lieutenant Percy Goodbehere, both planes fell into enemy territory as a result and were initially reported as ‘Missing’, however it later transpired that George Cowie died as a result of the collision and Goodbehere was taken prisoner. Cowie was buried there near Passchendaele by the Germans. His body was later exhumed circa 2 February 1923 and reburied to his current location at Tyne Cot Cemetery, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium. The two aircraft were claimed victories for the German air ace, Max Ritter von Muller.
Further Military and Civilian Research
George Cowie was born on 26 February 1899 at Mortlach, Banffshire.
He was educated at Alton Burn, Nairn, in Brussels and at Rugby (Schoolhouse) Lawrence Sheriff Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, entering in 1912 and leaving at the end of 1916.
At the beginning of 1917, against his parents wishes, George, left school early and joined the Royal Flying Corps and was commissioned as a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant (on probation) on 24 May 1917.
George Cowie was born on 26 February 1899 at Mortlach, Banffshire. The 1901 Census shows that they were residing at Dullan Brae House, Dufftown.
His family is shown as follows :-
- Father – Dr. Alexander Mitchell Cowie, born c.1862 at Mortlach, Banffshire.
- Mother – Sylvia Margaret Cowie, born c.1873 at Canada.
When his estate was settled on 25 November 1918, the sum of £119 was given to his father, Alexander. Had he survived, he would have ultimately inherited the Glenrinnes Estate from his father.
Aberdeen Press and Journal dated 14 September 1921
A Memorial Window was unveiled and dedicated on Sunday in Mortlach Parish Church, Dufftown to the memory of George Cowie R.F.C.. There was a large congregation present. The window depicts David standing over Goliath, and underneath is the Royal Flying Corps Motto ‘Per Ardua Ad Astra’. George Cowie 2nd Lieutenant, R.F.C..
In the 1901 Census and after the war, the family were shown as residing at Dullan Brae House, Mortlach, Dufftown, Banffshire.
In the winding-up of his ‘Estate’, in 1918, it shows that he was also residing at 10 Abinger Gardens, Edinburgh during the war.
George Cowie was awarded the Victory and the British War Medals for his service in the Great War.
George Cowie is honoured and remembered on the Rugby School War Memorial, Mortlach War Memorial, Dufftown and also remembered on a memorial window at Mortlach Church, Dufftown, Banffshire.
Links to Additional Information
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission – George Cowie
- Lives of the First World War – George Cowie
- Imperial War Museum War Memorials – Rugby School Memorial
- A Street Near You – George Cowie
- Find A Grave website – George Cowie
- London Gazette dated 20th June 1917
- Imperial War Museum Memorials – Mortlach War Memorial, Dufftown
- Percy Goodbehere Biography on this website
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
- Medal Index Card.
- Royal Air Force Museum – Casualty Card – George Cowie.
- Soldiers Died in the Great War.
- Scotland National Probate Index.
- Register of Soldiers Effects.
- England and Wales National Probate Calendar.
- Medal Roll – Royal Flying Corps – British War and Victory Medal.
- Moray Council Library Index.
- London Gazette dated 20th June 1917.
- Aberdeen Press & Journal dated 14 September 1921.
- Vincent Stuart