graduate

Cowan, David Tennant (1896-1983)

"Punch" Cowan commanded 17 Indian Division in India and Burma during most of the war. Slim, whose friendship dated back to 1924, praised him for his ability to maintain morale during the retreat from Burma. On arriving at Imphal, Cowan was ordered by the imperious Noel Irwin to camp out his exhausted division on a hillside devoid of any shelter or even forest cover; he refused and was backed by Slim.

Cowan also organized an intelligence organization, Yomas Intelligence Service, to screen the British retreat. Cowan was praised for conducting a skillful advance into the Chin Hills during the battle of Kohima and for his turning movement against 33 Division. He fought superbly at Meiktila during the central Burma campaign of 1944, retaining his stranglehold on the Japanese lines of communication in spite of lack of sleep and grief from news of the death of his son in the fighting at Mandalay.

Fraser (2007), who was a private soldier in the final months of the Burma campaign, recalls Cowan as a "kindly, hook-nosed Glasgow graduate".

Service record

1896    
  Born
1927

Staff College Quetta
1932
Colonel     
Chief Instructor, Indian Military Academy
1939

Commander, 1 Battalion, 6 Gurka Rifles
1940-9-8     

General Staff
1941-2-18     

Deputy director, Military Training, India
1942-3-2
Major general     
Commander, 17 Indian Division
1945

Commander, British Commonwealth Occupation Force,  Japan
1945-9-10     

Commander, Force 152
1945-11-1

Commander, BRINJAP Division, Japan
1946

Commander, BRINDIV Division, Japan
1948-1-9

Retires
1983

Dies


References

Fraser (2007)

Ammentorp (accessed 2016-6-29)

Lewin (1976)

Slim (1956)



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