Corporal Mechanic Clarence Alexander St Clair Cowden, MSM


Clarence Alexander St Clair Cowden was born on 24 July 1889 in Church Street, Dromore, County Down, the first of three children of medical practitioner William James Cowden and his wife Mary (nee Bell). By the time of the 1911 Census he was boarding at Delaware Street, Belfast, and working as an apprentice electrical engineer with the firm H.J. Scott & Co. He completed his apprenticeship in 1913.

Cowden enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Belfast on 12 October 1914 (No.1303). He embarked for France with F Squadron on 17 November 1915, remaining with that squadron until 19 October 1916, when he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (No.50819). He was appointed to the rank of 2nd Air Mechanic and posted to the No.1 Aircraft Depot at St Omer.

Cowden was promoted to 1st Air Mechanic on 1 April 1917 and corporal on 1 February 1918. When the RFC became the Royal Air Force on 1 April 1918, Cowden was given the rank of corporal mechanic. He remained in France with the RAF until 13 February 1919. On 18 March that year he was transferred to the RAF's Class G Reserve.

Cowden was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal in June 1919.

On 11 July 1927 he married Helena Frances Margaret Smith at Calry Church of Ireland Parish Church, County Sligo.

During World War 2 he re-enlisted, serving as an electrician in the Royal Air Force.