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William Cowburn served with the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He was given the service number 788, then later the 1917 style TF number 266716.

Private Cowburn sailed for France on 14th May 1915, ten days later than the majority of the Battalion.

On 11th March 1916, it was announced that Private William Cowburn had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. This had been awarded in connection with the event below;

Tuesday 15th June 1915, Battle of Festubert

In ‘A’ Company, Lieutenant Smith was in charge of the trench mortar team during the bombardment, firing from the fire trench. When the order to charge was given. Lieutenant Smith rushed forward with his gun, and was seriously wounded when carrying it across the open. He died in hospital at Lillers two days later, and was buried there. C.Q.M.S. Lester and Private Cowburn brought him in to L 8.

His citation reads;

photo (29)


Sometime after being awarded the DCM, William was promoted to Corporal.

Unfortunately his service papers have not survived.

Paul McCormick
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