Born: 17th January 1916, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear.

Died: 17th December 1940; age: 24; aircraft lost without trace.

Residence: 28, Hatfield Road, Ipswich.


Rank: Sergeant; Service Number: 565574.

Regiment: Royal Air Force, 61 Squadron.


Medals Awarded: Distinguished Flying Medal.

Gazetted: 24th December 1940.


Memorial Reference:

Panel 13,

Runnymede Memorial,

Englefield Green,



Relatives Notified & Address: Son of George & Isabel Cowan; husband of Lilian May Cowan, of Ipswich.


Father: George Robert Cowan, born 1885, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear.

Mother: Isabelle Cowan (nee Sanderson), born 1888, South Shields, Durham.


In November 1939, Ipswich, George married Lilian May Godsall, born August 1913, London.



George was a Corporal, 565574, in the R.A.F., he and his wife, Lilian were living at 28, Hatfield Road, Ipswich, the family home of Lilian’s parents.

Sidney Herbert Godsall, an Engineer’s Night Porter, born November 1879, Norwood, Surrey.

Louisa Mary Godsall, unpaid Domestic Duties, born March 1871, Lambeth, Surrey.




The D.F.M. has been awarded to Sergt.-Pilot George Edward Cowan, of 28, Hatfield Road, Ipswich. He has since been reported missing after a series of raids which he carried out with great gallantry.

Returning from an operational flight, Sergt.-Pilot Cowan went into action with a Messerschmitt 110 and encountered conditions in which visibility was nil. The aircraft’s wireless damaged in the action, was unserviceable. It was therefore impossible to find an aerodrome. Sergt.-Pilot Cowan decided to land the aircraft, which he did, with safety to the crew. Although the plane was damaged, Sergt. Cowan carried out all safety precautions with admirable presence of mind.

For the last two months Sergt. Cowan and his wife had been living in Lincoln.




17th December 1940

Aircraft: Handley Page Hampden Mk 1; serial number: X3128; code: QR-. Took off from RAF Hemswell, Lincolnshire for Mannheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. Lost without trace.

Fellow Crew:

(Dick) Harrnet Richard Richardson; Sergeant/Navigator; age: 22; R.A.F. Dick had been married for just two weeks.

Edwin Reeve: Pilot Officer/Gunner; age: 42; R.A.F.V.R.

Arthur Joseph Patrick Casey; Sergeant; age: 18; R.A.F.


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