Trooper Allen Houston Cowie signed up with the Royal North West Mounted Police Draft in April 1918. He served for almost a year in England and France and returned to Canada in May 1919.
Allen was the son of Andrew Grey Cowie Sr. and his wife Annie (née Gallagher) of Carnduff, Saskatchewan. Andrew was born in Ontario and Annie was from Liverpool, England. They were married in 1890 in the town of Rat Portage (now called Kenora) in northwestern Ontario and they had seven children: William, Andrew, James, Allen, Meada, Robert and Lillian. Allen, their fourth son, was born on 30 April 1897 in Norman, a neighbouring village to Rat Portage. Around 1905 the Cowies moved west and took up farming in the RM of Reciprocity, north of Carnduff. Two of the boys, Andrew and James, enlisted in the spring of 1916 and they were both sent overseas that fall. Andrew was killed in France in August 1917.
On 8 April 1918 the Canadian government authorized the raising of a Royal North West Mounted Police draft. It was organized in Regina and recruited from members of the force as well as volunteers brought into the force for overseas service. Recruiting started on 18 April and Allen enlisted with the unit on 24 April. He was assigned RNWMP Reg. No. 6804 and well as Canadian Expeditionary Force Reg. No. 2683792. The troops trained in Regina during the month of May, staying in tents at the Depot barracks and on the grounds of the new Legislative buildings. At the end of the month they headed to Montreal, embarking from there on 3 June on the SS Bellerophon and landing at Gravesend, Kent on 21 June.
Allen was transferred to the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment and he trained with them for the next four months. On 8 October he was assigned to Lord Strathcona's Horse and sent to France. When he joined his new unit in the field at the end of the month they were near Ytres, southwest of Cambrai, and the troops were still in France when the Armistice ended hostilities on 11 November. Two weeks later they marched into Belgium where they spent the winter. In mid-February Allen was transferred to the Canadian Cavalry Brigade headquarters for a month and in mid-March his unit returned to France. Allen was back in England in early April and he spent five weeks with the Canadian Reserve Cavalry Regiment. He embarked for Canada on 10 May on the SS Olympic and he was discharged in Winnipeg on 21 May. His brother James had been invalided back to Canada in January 1919, due to wounds.
After the war Allen returned to the Carnduff area and took up farming again. He was married in 1930 to Eva Mary Taylor. Eva was born in Saskatchewan in 1905 to Charles and Mary Jane Taylor. She lived in the RM of Reciprocity where her father was a farmer.
Allen passed away on 27 February 1962, at age 64, in the Gainsborough Union Hospital. Eva died in 1999 and they are both buried in Carnduff Cemetery.
Allen is commemorated on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Graves Database, "Maintain Our Memories."
By Kenora Great War Project