John Albert Cowley

1893 – 1985

John Albert Cowley was born on 29th November 1893, his parents were George and Fanny Cowley. Fanny was the Daughter of William and Caroline Mortemore who were the publicans at the Sun Inn, Oakley for more than 20 years.

George (a stonemason) and Fanny were married at Oakley and had three children, Lillian, John and Florence. Sadly George died in 1899.
The 1901 census shows Fanny was living in Hammersmith, London with her two daughters and her, now widowed, mother.
Seven year old John was living with his Uncle and Aunt, Thomas and Elizabeth Mortemore in Oakley.

Oakley School records confirm that John attended from 11th September 1899 until 8th January 1907. His address is listed as with Thomas Mortemore and his previous school as West Kensington, London.

John was still living with his Uncle & Aunt in Shabbington Wood, Oakley in 1911. The census shows his occupation as a general labourer on a farm.

John signed up to join the Army on 17th November 1914 and became Gunner J. A. Cowley, regimental number 53245 of the Royal Garrison Artillery. He was then posted to Fort Rayner, Gosport for training.

His next of kin was listed as his mother, Mrs F Saunders of 119, Sulgrave Road, Shepherds Bush, London (Fanny had re-married in 1901), but his permanent address was shown as c/o Mrs T Mortemore, Shabbington Wood, Oakley.

Much of his army record is too damaged to read, but he was shown as being in A1 condition on joining, 5feet 7inches tall and weighing 150 pounds (10st. 10lbs.) with a 37 inch chest.

He was issued with a Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity (for soldiers not remaining with the colours) in Dover, having returned from France on 7th February 1919.
John was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

On 10th April 1912 John married Florence Mary Golding who lived at 37, Sulgrave Road, Shepherds Bush (the same road as his mother), his occupation is shown as a manager on the marriage certificate.

John A. Cowley was living at 4 Uppingham, Harrow Middlesex in 1939, his occupation was a Radio Shop Keeper; although he said he was married, Florence was not recorded as living with him.

John Died on 27th August 1985 aged 91 and probate records show he lived in Granborough, near Winslow (his Father’s birthplace). Florence died in 1989 aged 92.