A Boer War Lothians & Berwickshire Imperial Yeomanry Presentation Cigar Box, 1902
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23cm (9in) x 13cm (5in) x 6cm (3.3in)
Silver. Cedar lined cigar box, the hinged lid engraved with the wheatsheaf (aka a ‘garb’ in heraldic language) of the Lothians and Berwickshire Imperial Yeomanry, and inscribed to the front ‘Lt. A.G. Cowan, From His Brother Officer’s / 22nd July 1903’. Maker’s mark of Frederick Thomas Buckthorpe. Retailed by David Crichton, Edinburgh. Hallmarked 1902.
Major Allister Gillespie Cowan, O.B.E., was the son of John Cowan of Murrayfield, Edinburgh and Barelaw Castle, Midlothian. He served in South African War as a Sergeant in the mounted infantry of the 19th Company Lothians and Berwickshire Yeomanry, 6th (Scottish) Battalion, Imperial Yeomanry. Commissioned in the field, he returned home in November 1902 with the 29th Battalion, IY, and was gazetted Second Lieutenant in The Lothians and Berwickshire Yeomanry Cavalry. His marriage in 1903 to a daughter of the Laird of Broomhouse was a notable social occasion and was celebrated on the Broomhouse and Edrom estates with a slap up dinner for tenants and tradesmen. On the outbreak of the First World War the regiment, now 1/1st Lothians and Border Horse was split up for deployment as divisional troops. Cowan and B Squadron along with Regimental Headquarters under Lord Binning and the Machine Gun Section arrived in France with the 25th Division in September 1915, and by turns carried out numerous duties including field security and spells in the line. In 1917 amid rumours of being permanently dismounted, Cowan was appointed to do duty with the Provost Marshal, Fourth Army. In civil life Cowan was a director of the family paper making firm of Alex. Cowan & Sons (est.1779) and chairman of the Edinburgh branch of Lord Roberts’ Workshop for disabled veterans.