You are viewing this site in staging mode. Click in this bar to return to normal site.

Leonard Harris Cowper: Tuesday 7th November 1916

Leonard became a Second lieutenant with 20th (Tyneside Scottish) Northumberland Fusiliers and died of wounds, received the previous day, aged 19 and is buried in Trois Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck. The grave inscription reads:


The cemetery was started by the Australian casualty clearing station in mid-1916.  The area fell into German hand for 6 months in 1918 but appears to have been undisturbed.

Leonard is also commemorated on the Upper Clapton Rugby Club memorial where he was a member of the team.  In 2006 the club introduced an award named after him following research into the names on their memorial. The award is made annually to a member of the most senior youth team, selected by committee.  Part of a letter written to Leonard’s parents from his commanding officer said: “that Cowper had a smile and a word for everybody.”  The Rugby Club now has the Leonard Cowper Board which proudly displays the names of those players who have been recipients of this award. This board has the following extract from the aforementioned letter: 2nd Lieutenant Leonard Harris Cowper 20th Tyneside & Scottish who died of his wounds on November 7th 1916 aged 19. His fellow officers & men remember him. He had a smile and a word for everybody.

Leonard was the son of Rev. Herbert William Cowper MA and Mrs Teresa Cowper, living at 18 Baskerville Road having previously lived at 38 Geraldine Road.  Rev Herbert was the Poor Law Chaplin.  In 1914 he was Chaplin to Wandsworth Union Workhouse & Tooting Home.  In 1918 he was listed as Chaplin to Swaffield Road Institution & Tooting Home.  Leonard had siblings Thomas, 9 years older, Dora Mary 5 years older a private school governess, William 2 years older and Laurence 2 years younger.  They kept a live-in servant.  The three youngest were born locally.  Leonard was baptised at St Faith’s by the vicar on 2 October 1897. Baptisms at St Faith’s were generally conducted by Herbert who was the Curate.