Charles Cowley

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Charles Henry Cowley
Born 21 February 1872
Baghdad, Iraq
Died 25 April 1916 (aged 44)
Buried British cemetery, Bab al Sharji, Baghdad, Iraq; also remembered on the Basra Memorial
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Navy
Years of service - 1916
Rank Lieutenant-Commander
Unit Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross

Lieutenant-Commander Charles Henry Cowley VC (21 February 1872 – 25 April 1916) was a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

He was 44 years old, and a lieutenant-commander in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On the night of 24 April/25 April 1916 in Mesopotamia, an attempt was made to reprovision the force besieged at Kut-el-Amara. Lieutenant-Commander Cowley, with a lieutenant (Humphrey Osbaldston Brooke Firman) (commanding SS Julnar), a sub-lieutenant and 12 ratings, started off with 210 tons of stores up the River Tigris. Unfortunately Julnar was attacked almost at once by Turkish machine-guns and artillery. At Magasis, steel hawsers stretched across the river halted the expedition, the enemy opened fire at point-blank range and Julnar's bridge was smashed.[1] Julnar's commander was killed, also several of his crew; Lieutenant-Commander Cowley was taken prisoner with the other survivors and almost certainly executed by the Turks.[2] [3]



  1. ^
  2. ^ "No. 29928". The London Gazette. 2 February 1917. p. 1160.
  3. ^ CWGC entry


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