Sir John Cowans
Lieutenant General Sir John Cowans c.1914
|Born||11 March 1862|
|Died||16 April 1921 (aged 59)|
St Mary's Catholic Cemetery, Kensal Green, London, England
|Years of service||1881–1919|
|Commands held||Presidency Brigade|
|Battles/wars||First World War|
|Awards||Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath|
Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer (Greece)
General Sir John Stephen "Jack" Cowans, GCB, GCMG, MVO (11 March 1862 – 16 April 1921) was a senior British Army officer who served as Quartermaster-General to the Forces from 1912 to 1919, covering the period of the First World War.
He became a Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General at Army Headquarters in 1898, and was thus involved in organizing troops during the Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. For this service he was invested as a Member (fourth class) of the Royal Victorian Order (MVO) two days after the ceremony, on 11 August 1902. The following year, he became Assistant Quartermaster-General for 2nd Division at Aldershot Command in 1903. In 1906 he was appointed Director-General of Military Education for the Indian Army and in 1907 he became Director of Staff Duties and Training at Army Headquarters in India. He then became Commander of the Presidency Brigade in Calcutta in 1908.
He returned to the United Kingdom in 1910 to be Director-General of the Territorial Forces and then became Quartermaster-General to the Forces in 1912; in this capacity he was responsible for finding accommodation and supplies for more than a million newly enlisted servicemen at the start of the First World War and worked closely with the Women's Legion and the YMCA to achieve this.
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith described Cowans as "the best Quartermaster since Moses". In October 1919, Cowans was appointed a Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer by Alexander of Greece, King of the Hellenes; this is the highest grade of the highest order of Greece. He retired that year.
In 1884, he married Eva Mary Coulson: they had no children.
- John Cowans at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives
- "Court Circular". The Times (36844). London. 12 August 1902. p. 8.
- "No. 27467". The London Gazette. 22 August 1902. pp. 5461–5462.
- Wipers Dead Time Magazine, 1 June 1925
- "No. 31615". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 October 1919. p. 13002.
- "Sir John Steven Cowans". CWGC Casualty record. Retrieved 20 August 2016.
Sir Herbert Miles
| Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Sir Travers Clarke