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After the battle, Montgomery nominated him to be the first British instructor at the US Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth. He returned to the Mediterranean in 1944, and in early 1945 joined Montgomery's staff in North West Europe.

By the end of the war he had established a reputation as a clear, long-sighted administrative planner. In the war's immediate aftermath he was deputy to Sir Percy Mills (later Lord Mills) and then to Sir Cecil Weir, the successive heads of the Economic Division of the British Control.

Commission in Germany. By 1949 he was Director of Administrative Plans at the War Office, and after three years as Chief of Staff, Eastern Command, he was back in the War Office as Vice Quartermaster-General in 1956 - the year of Suez.

The Suez crisis catapulted Cowley temporarily into a seat on the Army Council. The Quartermaster-General, Sir Maurice Chilton, died at the beginning of the crisis, and Cowley took over as acting QMG, responsible for movement and logistic support of the forces involved in the Suez operation, about which he expressed grave doubts at the time, although this did not affect his handling of the complex problems that confronted him.

Since he had borne the entire administration responsibility for Suez, his many friends and admirers expected him to be confirmed in the post of QMG as a full general. It was not to be. He was appointed instead Controller of Munitions in the Ministry of Supply in 1957.

His clash with Duncan Sandys came in November 1959 when he was still Controller of Munitions. In a well argued lecture at the Royal United Services Institute, criticising the Macmillan government's espousal of Sandys's nuclear "Big- Bang" philosophy in order to get rid of National Service, he parodied Lewis Carroll, saying:

I also have a plan to spend a thousand million pounds,
To buy some guided missiles and hide them in the ground.
And then to clearly paint on each "these things must not be used".
No wonder that our citizens are getting so confused.

He was too valuable to sack; and when the Ministry of Supply was wound up in 1960, he became the first Master-General of Ordnance since the abolition of the post in 1939.

Although a man of decided and often unconventional views, his approach to people, even opponents, was quiet and reticent, reminiscent of the courtesies of his father's vicarage. A deceptively nervous laugh tended to mask his determination and strength of personality. A good athlete in his younger days, he became a competitive golfer, and when his golfing days were over he took up croquet in an equally competitive spirit.

His successful business career started when he retired from the Army in 1962: he was chairman of Bowmakers, 1962-71; of Wilverley Securities, 1970-73; and of Keith & Henderson, 1973-76; as well as being a director of several major commercial firms such as British Oxygen. And his career in education was as a very active vice president and chairman of the governors of Wellington College, and as the chairman of. governors of three other schools.

He married Irene Sybil Millen in 1941. She, a son and three daughters survive him.

Memorials: A memorial service for Lt-General Sir John Cowley was held on Tuesday 19th January 1993 at the Church of St. John the Baptist, Boldre, Lymington, Hampshire. Mrs Margaret Purves GC represented the VC & GC Assn.

Town/County Connections:

Books/References: 4, 7, 15, 17, 40, 68

Illustrations: Portrait (1)