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Reginald Cowtan
Leading Seaman

Service No: D/JX 135633


Reginald Cowtan died on the 14th February 1942, he is recorded by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as having been on the minelayer HMS Kung Wo when he died, but Thomas Parsons remembers being with a Leading Seaman 'Countant' after HMS Li Wo was sunk, and had served with him before this. Thomas remembered that Leading Seaman Countant was bayoneted by the Japanese, but didn't say whether he had died from this attack. Either account is possible.

However, the CWGC does contain many errors in the listings, especially spelling mistakes. Also, Thomas Parsons was very badly affected by his experiences under the Japanese in the prisoner of war camp, and may also have made errors in his account.

Since 'Countant' and 'Cowtan' sound very similar, this might account for the spelling error by either source.
There is no listing under the name 'Countant' in the CWGC records.

We will probably never know.

Additional information: From looking at records, both HMS Kung Wo and HMS Li Wo were sunk off Bangka Island on the 14th February 1942. It is possible that Thomas Parsons met Reginald Cowtan after both swam ashore from different wrecks, and they met up whilst they were evading the Japanese patrols that were out looking for shipwrecked allied forces.

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

Nationality: United Kingdom 
Rank: Leading Seaman 
Regiment: Royal Navy 
Unit Text: H.M.S. Kung Wo 
Age: 25 
Date of Death: 14/02/1942 
Service No: D/JX 135633 
Additional information: Husband of Elizebeth Cowtan, of South Bank in Normanby, Yorkshire. 
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead 
Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 63, Column 3.