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John Robert Cowan-Douglas











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John Robert Cowan-Douglas, of Gateshaw House, born 29th May 1893, was the son of Robert William Cowan-Douglas and Isabella Balloch. John's father, Robert William Cowan, had added the name Douglas to his own in 1816 in order that he might benefit from the will of Alexander Sholto Douglas, who died in 1817, thus inheriting Gateshaw house, in Roxburghshire.


A Captain in the  Highland Light Infantry, John was  educated at Marlborough College and at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst.


He fought in many engagements on the front line, was wounded, taught in the Grenade School in Troon Edinburgh (sic) and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross and was mentioned in dispatches in relation to the battles of Neuve Chapelle (March 1915) and Ypres/Richebourg-l'Avoue in May 1915.


from the London Gazette:
Capt. J. R. Cowan-Douglas, D.S.O., M.C., is restd. (??) to the establishment. 24th June 1927.
Maj. J. R. COWAN-DOUGLAS, D.S.O., M.C. (3735), having exceeded the age limit of liability to recall, ceases to belong to the Res. of Officers., 28th Aug. 1945


He married Rita (1896-1975, dau of Joseph Selby CHANCE JP (1862-1941, scion of that gentry family of Morton) and Helen Augusta (c1863-1956, dau of Col Archibald WYBERGH, scion of that gentry family of Borran's Hill formerly of Clifton Hall)).


Documents held in The Great War Archive, University of Oxford, relate to his family and relatives who were involved in (a) an air attack on HMS Venerable in the Channel (b) a Zeppelin attack on Edinburgh and (c) service in Greece.





1. The estate of Alexander was inherited by Robert William Cowan (1861-1934) who changed his surname to Cowan-Douglas. In 1917 on death of Alexander Sholto Douglas (W.S., res 26 Drumsheugh Gdns, Edinburgh), John Marshall Cowan, MD, Glasgow, and Robert William Cowan-Douglas, esq., of Corbet Tower, Kelso, were executors (GWR shares, findmypast); John (b. 1870) and Robert (1861) were 1st cousins once removed of Helen McCaul Forrester (b. 1833), wife of Alexander S. Douglas.

In 1917 Robert William Cowan-Douglas of Corbet Tower, Roxburghs., in compliance with the will (1915) of Alexander Sholto Douglas of Gateshaw, W.S., assumed the surname Cowan-Douglas in lieu of the present surname of Cowan (London Gazette).


2. From Walford's County Families, 1919: COWAN-DOUGLAS, Robert William, Esq., of Gateshaw, Roxburghshire. Only son of John Black Cowan, Esq., LL.D., Professor of Mat. Med., Glasgow Univ., who d. 1896, by Mary Anne, who d. 1861, dau. of the late Dr. William Stokes, of Dublin; b. 1861; s. Alexander Sholto Douglas, Esq., W.S., J.P., 1916; m. 1892 Isabella Margaret, dau. of the late Robert Balloch, Esq., of Glasgow, and has, with other issue, a son, *John Robert, D.S.O., M.C., Capt. Highland L.I. ; educated at Marlborough Coll. and at the R. Mil. Coll., Sandhurst ; b. 1893. Mr. Cowan-Douglas, who was educated at Fettes Coll., Edinburgh, and assumed the additional surname of Douglas 1916, was formerly ranching in Alberta, Canada.? Residence: Corbet Tower, Kelso; R. Automobile Club, s.w. ; Western Club, Glasgow.



See also:

  • The Cowan Douglas family

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