10046 PTE. A. COWLEY. BORD.R.
Arthur Cowley was born on 16 February 1892 in Bamber Bridge and baptised at St Saviour’s on 13 March. His father was Richard Cowley (b. 1860 in Lathom near Burscough), a railway guard. His mother was Ellen Monk (b. 1860 in Parbold). Richard and Ellen were married in 1880 and they had 7 children: John (b. 1882), Annie (b. 1884), Florence (b. 1887), Elsie (b. 1888), Albert (b. 1889), then Arthur and finally Lily (b. 1898). The family moved from Burscough to Bamber Bridge in 1888 and by 1911 they were living at 26 Mounsey Road. Arthur was a weaver in a cotton mill.
Arthur enlisted at the outbreak of war in the Border Regiment. He was assigned service number 10046 and posted to 2nd Battalion. 2Bn came under orders of 20th Brigade in 7th Division. 7th Division landed in France in October 1914 and suffered very heavy losses in the First Battle of Ypres. Arthur was among reinforcements sent out in early 1915, landing in France on 7 April. Things were not looking good for 7th Division then as they had suffered further heavy losses at Neuve Chapelle (10-13 March) and Arthur joined as they were preparing for the Battle of Aubers Ridge (9 May). This battle was an unmitigated disaster for the British army. No ground was won and no tactical advantage gained. It is doubted if it had the slightest positive effect on assisting the main French attack 15 miles (24 km) to the south. The battle was renewed slightly to the south, from 15 May as the Battle of Festubert. It was here at Festubert, on 16 May 1915, that Arthur was killed. He was 23 years old. 2Bn had 120 officers and men killed on 16 May.
Service No: 10046
Date of Death: 16/05/1915
Regiment/Service: Border Regiment, 2Bn
Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 19 and 20.
Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL
Additional Information: Son of Richard and Ellen Cowley, of 78 Station Road, Bamber Bridge, Preston.
Although Arthur was baptised at St Saviour’s, he appears among the fallen on the roll of honour of the Methodist church. The A. Cowley who appears among those who served on the St Saviour’s roll is presumably Arthur’s brother Albert, but I have no records of his military service.