Lance Corporal William Percival Graham Cowan



William Percival Graham Cowan was born on 1 May 1897 at Bailieborough, County Cavan, the first of two children of bank clerk William John Cowan and his wife Emily Caroline (nee Dobson). By 1911 he was living with his parents at 62 Main Street, Ballybay, County Monaghan, his father working as the local bank branch manager.

Cowan began work at the Northern Bank at its Belfast head office on 14 April 1914, later working at Bailieborough (1914), Virginia (1915) and Ramelton (1915).

He enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 25 and 30 November 1915 (No.1993), embarking for France in 1916 or the first half of 1917, where he was posted to one of the squadrons of either the 1st or 2nd North Irish Horse Regiment. In September 1917 the 2nd NIH Regiment was disbanded and most of its men, together with some surplus to the needs of the 1st Regiment, were transferred to the 9th (Service) Battalion, Royal Irish Fusiliers – renamed the 9th (North Irish Horse) Battalion. Like most of the men, Cowan was transferred on 20 September. He was issued a new regimental number – 41532. It is likely that he saw action with the battalion at the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917, and during the Advance to Victory offensive from August 1918.

Some records suggest that Cowan attended an officer cadet school during 1918, but this did not lead to his being commissioned. On 18 February 1919 he was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve.

After the war Cowan resumed work at the Northern Bank in Dungannon, later transferring to head office (1922), Shaftesbury Square (1931) and Irvinestown (1933). On 7 July 1926 he married Georgina Richardson at Dungannon. By 1961 he was living with his wife at 49 Cregagh Road, Belfast, and working as a tobacconist and confectioner. He died on 24 May that year at the Forster Green Hospital, Belfast, and was buried at Roselawn Cemetery.


William Cowan at his wedding to Georgina (Ina) in 1926. His sister Eileen is on the right.

First image and the information relating to Cowan's bank career sourced from Gavin Bamford's site honouring the officials of the Northern Bank and Belfast Bank who served during the two World Wars and in more recent conflicts, Wedding image sourced from Ancestry, public member trees, contributor 'colingraham35'.