Lieut-CommanderCOWLEY, CHARLES HENRY

Died 24/04/1916

Aged 44

S.S. "Julnar."
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve

V C

Son of Mrs. Cowley, of Kiddary St., Ashan, Basra.

Citation

An extract from "The London Gazette," dated, 2nd Feb., 1917, records the following

"The General Officer Commanding, Indian Expeditionary Force "

D", reported on this attempt in the following words:- " At 8 p.m. on April 24th, 1916, with a crew from the Royal Navy under Lieut. Firman, R.N., assisted by Lieut. Comdr. Cowley, R.N.V.R., the " Julnar ", carrying 270 tons of supplies, left Falahiyah in an attempt to reach Kut. Her departure was covered by all artillery and machine gun fire that could be brought to bear, in the hope of distracting the enemy's attention. She was, however, discovered and shelled on her passage up the river. At 1 a.m. on the 25th, Gen. Townshend reported that she had not arrived, and that at midnight a burst of heavy firing had been heard at Magasis, some 9 miles from Kut by river, which had suddenly ceased. There could be but little doubt that the enterprise had failed, and the next day the Air Service reported the " Julnar " in the hands of the Turks at Magasis. The leaders of this brave attempt, Lieut. H.O.B. Firman, R.N., and his assistant, Lieut. Comdr. C.H. Cowley, R.N.V.R. - the latter of whom throughout the campaign in Mesopotamia performed magnificient service in command of the "Mejidieh", - have been reported by the Turks to have been killed; the remainder of the gallant crew, including five wounded, are prisoners of war. Knowing well the chances against them, all the gallant officers and men who manned the 'Julnar' for the occasion were volunteers. I trust that the services in this connection of Lieut. H.O.B. Firman, R.N., and Lieut. Comdr. C.H. Cowley, R.N.V.R., his assistant, both of whom were unfortunately killed, may be recognised by the posthumous grant of some suitable honour." The account of the award is preceded by the following paragraph:- "The King has been graciously pleased to approve of the posthumous grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned officers in recognition of their conspicuous gallantry in an attempt to re-provision the force besieged in Kut-el-Amara."

Commemorated at BASRA MEMORIAL

Location: Iraq
Number of casualties: 40661

Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 1.

See cemetery plan
Memorial details

CWGC Archives

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This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.
DISCLAIMER:
This collection of documents was assembled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and its predecessors as part of the processes involved in the commemoration of individuals. As a result, they contain many corrections and alterations which reflect their use as working documents. For further information concerning the history of the collection, please see our About Our Records page.
Please be advised that some of the documents, especially the burial returns and exhumation reports, may contain information which some people may find distressing. The original archive records and their digital copies remain the property of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, but are available for re-use for private and non-commercial purposes.