On a journey of discovery to historical sites? Download the TracesOfWar app directly on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Cowham, Arthur Humphrey (Mike)

Service number:
Rhodesian (1924-1964, British Protectorate)


Sergeant Walter Humphrey (Mike) Cowham was a Rhodesian from Fort Jameson, Northern Rhodesia.

"When we got Sergeant Cowham out of the turret, apart from his eye wound a bullet had passed through his flying suit and taken skin off his shoulder. ''Mike'', as Cowham was known to his friends, had lost a lot of blood but despite all our pleading with him he would not vacate the turret until we landed. In Rhodesia he had been keen on big game hunting and when he was seen in hospital visited by the crew he told them - ''I won’t have to squint my eye now when I go lion shooting again''. His CGM was gazetted on 19th November 1943."

He attested into the Northern Rhodesia Police as an Assistant. Inspector on 26 January 1946 and was promoted Assistant Superintendant in 1954. He transferred to the Judicial Department as a Master Interpreter on 4 December 1956. Was called to the bar at Gray''s Inn in 1961. Was Resident Magistrate, Lusaka, in 1962. Was a Legal Assistant with Customs and Excise, UK, in 1978. His wife''s name was Molly.

Do you have more information about this person? Inform us!

Second World War (1939-1945)
No. 57 Squadron, Royal Air Force
Awarded on:
November 19th, 1943
"One night in October, 1943, this airman was the rear gunner of an (aircraft detailed to attack Hanover. Shortly after the target had been bombed the aircraft was engaged by a fighter and hit by a hail of bullets which caused much damage.  Sergeant Cowham was struck in the face and suffered a severe injury to one of his eyes.  Although his turret was virtually wrecked he fought on with great resolution and played a good part in driving off the attacker. Throughout the long journey home this brave gunner although in intense pain and suffering from the loss of blood, refused to leave his post. Twice, subsequently, his accurate shooting prevented an enemy aircraft from closing in, while his skilful directions assisted his pilot to out-manoeuvre the enemy and fly clear.  In harassing circumstances his gallant example greatly encouraged his comrades who were striving to bring the crippled bomber home. On this, his first sortie, Sergeant Cowham displayed courage, fortitude and devotion to duty in keeping with the best traditions of the Royal Air Force."
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (CGM)