Monday, March 16, 2009

“In my Father’s House”

WW2 photograph of my Cousin Elizabeth (Betty) Cowan
(Betty is the WAAF standing up asking a question)
[Family album photograph]

The above photograph from my family album shows my Cousin Betty Cowan standing up asking a question during what I assume is a briefing or training session. Leading Aircraftwoman Elizabeth Cowan, 2096437, WAAF died at home in Whitehaven, Cumberland on 24 October 1945 as a result of what I was told were ‘bomb blast injuries’.

Betty’s name is one of 20 names listed on the WW2 Memorial of St Nicholas’ Church, Whitehaven (Church of England). Beneath the names is the following Biblical quotation:

“In My Father’s house there are many mansions”.

This is a link to the story I posted to the BBC “People’s War” website:
At Rest Her Duty Nobly Done


For additional information click on ‘Comments’ below

2 Comments:

Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

Additional information

Betty was a 1st cousin of my father. Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the other people in the photograph, or even where it was taken. It may be a reinforced underground room at an airfield somewhere in the London area. The room actually reminds me of the type found in the Cabinet War Rooms.

Betty is the only woman listed on the WW2 Memorial at St Nicholas’ Church. Betty was baptised in this church 30 years earlier, in 1915. She was one of the four daughters of Walter John Cowan and Elizabeth Cowan (née Ritson).


Once a year – at the end of October just before Remembrance time – I visit Betty’s grave in Whitehaven Cemetery and place on it a poppy cross. On it I write the words her parents chose to be written as the epitaph for her headstone:

At rest, her duty nobly done’. The sacrifice of Betty and her family is still remembered.

So far as I know, Betty suffered the bomb blast injuries as a result of a V1 or V2 attack in the London area probably in early 1945. At this time London and the South East of England were subjected to V1 and V2 attacks by the Germans and much of the information and casualty lists were restricted to prevent giving away vital information to the enemy. Otherwise, I do not have any firm evidence or details about Betty’s time in the WAAF. It would be interesting if anyone has any information they could provide about Betty Cowan’s service record in the WAAF during WW2.

Monday, 16 March, 2009  
Blogger Tomcann said...

Joseph -
That will be a tough chore as my wife also served in the WAAF - she sent for her records a long time ago - she got a one page letter to say that yes she was indeed in the WAAF but all records were destroyed in a fire at the record office -

the question has bugged me ever since
" so how did they know she served " ?

Monday, 16 March, 2009  

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