Errol Claude (Erl) COWLEY


COWLEY, Errol Claude

Service Number: 135
Enlisted: 22 August 1914, Gatton, Queensland
Last Rank: Sergeant
Last Unit: 2nd Light Horse Regiment
Born: Ingham, Queensland, Australia, 3 March 1896
Home Town: Gatton, Lockyer Valley, Queensland
Schooling: Ingham State School, Nambour State School, Brisbane Grammar School and Gatton Agricultural College, Queensland, Australia
Occupation: Experimentalist/Student
Died: Killed in Action, Egypt, 9 January 1917, aged 20 years
Cemetery: Kantara War Memorial Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Baulkham Hills Patriotic League Roll of Honor, Gatton Agricultural College HR, Norwest Mitchell Remembers Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

22 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 135, Gatton, Queensland
24 Sep 1914: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 135, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 Sep 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 135, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, HMAT Star of England, Brisbane
12 May 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Trooper, SN 135, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, 'ANZAC' / Gallipoli
13 Aug 1915: Wounded Trooper, SN 135, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, The August Offensive - Lone Pine, Suvla Bay, Sari Bair, The Nek and Hill 60 - Gallipoli, GSW (thigh)
10 May 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 2nd Light Horse Regiment
10 Jul 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Corporal, 2nd Light Horse Regiment
3 Aug 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Corporal, SN 135, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, Battle of Romani
12 Sep 1916: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 2nd Light Horse Regiment
9 Jan 1917: Involvement AIF WW1, Sergeant, SN 135, 2nd Light Horse Regiment, Battle of Magdhaba

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Biography contributed by John Edwards


"South Africa," a weekly journal printed in London for South Africans, contains the following interesting paragraph:— 

"All old Durbanites will remember Pastor Cowley, who held such a respected position in the Baptist Church in Natal. One of his sons was the late Mr. W. R. Cowley, who was at one time the officer commanding the Victoria Mounted Rifles, now incorporated in the Natal Mounted Rifles. One of his sons, Cecil, appeared in the honors list last week (November last). He was awarded the Military Cross for 'able leading of a Raiding party into the enemy's first line. He personally bombed a dug-out, showIng great coolness, and finally withdrew his party without loss.' He was in Central Africa at the beginning of the war, but at once came home, and received a commission in the Northumberland Fusiliers. His brother Bernard and himself practised for some years in Durban, as Cowley and Cowley, advocates, Mr. Bernard now carrying on The business. Another brother, Lieut W. L. Cowley (cyclist corps) came from Java at the commencement of hostilities and was wounded at Kut-el-Amara on April 5. He has now recovered sufficiently to walk with the aid of & stick. Lieut Cecil Cowley was decorated by His Majesty on Tuesday at Buckingham Palace."

Both those gallant soldiers are nephews of Sir Alfred Cowley, who has devoted so much time and money to our soldiers, especially interesting himself in the sending of comforts to our soldiers at the front. Lieut. W. L. Cowley was a resident in Java before the war, being engaged on a rubber plantation. Lieut. Cecil Cowley is well known in journalistic circles in Victoria, having been the legal reporter on the Melbourne "Herald" some two years before the outbreak of hostilities. Sir Alfred Cowley has also just heard of the loss of his grand-nephew, Errol Cowley, a native of the Herbert River, N.Q., who was educated at the Brisbane Grammar School and the Agricultural College, Gatton. From the college he went with Captain Logan, with the Light Horse, at the outbreak of war. He was wounded in the thigh on Gallipoli, but recovered, and went back to the fighting in Egypt. He saw service with the Light Horse during their gallant action against the Turks at Romani and El Arish, but was killed in action during the last battle on January 9. The father of this young soldier — he was well underage when he joined the forces — is Mr. L. J. Cowley, formerly manager of the Nambour Central Sugar Mill, and late of New Guinea. Altogether Sir Alfred has 14 sons and nephews who have joined the British or Dominions' forces." - from the Brisbane Daily Mail 02 Feb 1917 (

"Nambour residents read with regret the name of Pte. Errol Cowley amongst a list of N.S.W. soldiers killed. A son of a former Moreton Sugar Mill manager, he was a pupil at Nambour State School."from the Chronicle and North Coast Advertiser 02 Feb 1917 (

"SERGT. E. C. COWLEY, Killed in action. Second son of Mr. and Mrs. L. J. Cowley, Lorne, Baulkam Hills, N.S.W., and late of Papua."from the Queenslander 24 Feb 1917 (