Lance Corporal George Cowe M.M.

Lance Corporal George Cowe M.M., 2nd Battalion, Gordon Highlanders. He was killed in action on 1st July 1916 on the first Day of the Battle of the Somme, aged 23. He was the son of John Cowe of Swallowdean, Duns and is buried in Gordon Cemetery, Mametz, Somme, France. His Headstone is inscribed ” He Gave His Life That We Might Be Free “. (This cemetery was a support trench used by the Battalion to bury their dead of 1st July.)  He fell in the attack towards the village of Mametz which was the day’s final objective. Despite heavy losses and in conjunction with the 2nd Royal Warwickshire Regiment Mametz was captured and 600 prisoners taken. Casualties were 7 Officers and 119 Other Ranks killed and 9 Officers and 287 Other Ranks wounded.  In addition 39 Other Ranks were posted missing. The photograph is believed to show the 2nd Gordons advancing at about 7.35 a.m. that morning. The lack of cover is noticeable as is the width of no mans land giving the Germans plenty time to man their machine guns after the bombardment ceased. This was known as the “race to the parapets”. If the attackers got there first they “won” and if the defenders got their guns in place first they “won”.

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