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A Soldier's Record

The private records of Captain George Evelyn Cowley, including letters, citations or honours, and photographs, show how the papers of individual soldiers add a personal dimension to war dispatches and official histories.

A photograph of soldiers in bush hats standing in front of an encampment has survived among Cowley's papers. As so often with photographs, this is undated and unidentified - presenting a challenge for the biographer and researcher.

Cowley's first military experience was apparently as a journalist and cinematographer in the Balkans in 1912. He wrote autobiographical stories based on this period.

In a letter to his father, on thin hospital paper, Cowley writes of the horrors of the Gallipoli campaign in 1915. He adds a more personal but distressing worry about his decaying teeth. His final comment on Alexandria is a reminder that the experience of foreign campaigns could give soldiers occasional sightseeing breaks.

In the First World War, he served with distinction at Gallipoli, and on the Western Front, being twice mentioned in dispatches. He died of his wounds in 1918, after being taken prisoner during the Spring Offensive.

An official scroll commemorates George Cowley's death. Many thousands of these were sent out to families after the war, and have been retained in family archives.

Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.

Photograph of soldiers Zoom in

Photograph of soldiers

Letter from hospital, Alexandria Zoom in

Letter from hospital, Alexandria

George Cowley scroll Zoom in

George Cowley scroll

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