Spr Frank Cowlishaw - 2nd Fd Coy

Spr Frank Cowlishaw
RCE Dieppe Memorial in Newhaven, England

Sapper Frank Cowlishaw was born in Toronto in 1921 and was married to Josephine. He had served in 2nd Field Company in the Active Militia prior to its mobilization in September 1939. Frank transferred to the Active Service Force on 5 September 1939 - five days before Canada officially declared war on Germany.

Sapper Cowlishaw qualified as a Pioneer on 9 May 1940 and three days later embarked at Halifax for England. When he arrived in the UK he joined the main body of the 2nd Field Company who had only arrived in Aldershot in the previous month. The 2nd Fd Coy was employed on camp construction at Aldershot and continued training in the County of Sussex in south-east England until mid-May 1942 when 2nd Canadian Division was placed in Corps Reserve. The company then moved to Coolham – still in the south-east of England - and settled down to a period of more construction and training. In a very short time, however, they embarked on a demanding training and exercise program to prepare for the Dieppe Raid.

Sapper Colishaw was a member of Major Sucharov’s Party of 92 All Ranks that provided the Beach Parties to get the assaulting troops ashore and through the obstacles on the beach. Once this was accomplished, parties would remain to maintain the exits and others would be assigned new tasks as the situation developed. Major Sucharov’s Party was organized into eight teams and the personnel were distributed among the Landing Craft according to their assigned beach and task. Frank was a member of Cpl Dodd’s team of 12 All Ranks who were to assist the Royal Highland Light Infantry through the anticipated minefields on WHITE Beach. Frank operated one of the Mine Detectors. Once on the beach, they searched for mines without locating any but did clear other obstacles under heavy enemy fire.

Like the infantry, these sappers were greatly pinned down by heavy enemy fire on the beach, the Esplanade Wall and any approaches to the town of Dieppe. They could not advance into the town to assist with any new targets and Sapper Cowlishaw was Killed in Action. He is buried in the Dieppe Canadian War Cemetery, Hautot-sur-Mer, France.

…{…with research assistance by the Canadian Military Engineer Museum….}

 

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