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Edward Molyneux Cohan

Second Lieutenant
West Lancs. Bde.
Royal Field Artillery
Died 5th August 1914
Buried at






Edward Molyneux Cohan was born at Liverpool on the 7th January 1889. He was the son of Edward Asher Cohan and Martha Alice (nee Molyneux). His parents were married at St.Helen's C.of E. Church, Sefton, in 1876. He had six siblings, all born at Liverpool; Annie Elizabeth (born 1877), William Molyneux (born 1879), Mary Bury (born 1881), Henry Molyneux (born 1884), Alice Molyneux (born 1886) and Charles Molyneux (born 1892).
The Cohan family were lodging - probably on their holidays - at 18 Bath Street, Southport in 1881. They were at 16 Linnet Lane, Toxteth Park in 1891. By 1901 they had taken up residence at 'Wynnstay', 10 Aigburth Drive, where they were still living in 1933. The family nurse, Mary Ellen Turnbull, was living with them from 1881 right through until 1914, and was one of the chief mourners at Edward Molyneux Cohan's funeral.
His father, Edward Asher Cohan, was born at Liverpool. He was an extremely wealthy ship's broker. At his death in 1916 his estate was valued at £689,665 9s 6d (almost £30 million at current values.)
His grandparents were Henry Cohan and Annie Moss who were married at Hope Place Synagogue, Liverpool, in 1848. Henry was described as a (deceased)  merchant on Edward Asher Cohan's marriage certificate.
His great-grandfather, Asher Cohan, and his family had moved to Liverpool from Chatham, Kent by 1841. In that year he was the proprietor of a pawnbroker's shop at 53 South Castle Street. Asher Cohan died in 1869 and his estate was valued at under £12,000  (approximately £500,000 at current values.) His son, Mark Cohan, continued the business, later incorporating a watch dealership, at the same address until his death in 1891. Mark's estate was proved by his nephew, Edward Asher Cohan, and valued at £7,121 7s 2d  (over £400,000 at current values.)
Edward Molyneux Cohan's mother, Martha Alice Molyneux, was born at Blackburn, Lancashire. She was the daughter of John Molyneux, a timber merchant, who died in 1857, when Martha Alice was just five years old. As a young girl she and her sisters moved to Crosby to live with their uncle William Molyneux, a timber merchant whose business was based in Liverpool.
His brother Henry Molyneux Cohan also died during the war.
An extensive biography of Edward Molyneux Cohan appeared in Liverpool's Scroll of Fame. His photo appeared in the biography and is reproduced here with the kind permission of Liverpool Record Office.

     By far the majority of the gallant warriors whose service is recorded in this volume laid down their lives in the very presence of the enemy. Some there also are, equally as brave and as eager to help in their country’s salvation, who were denied that great privilege. Lieutenant Edward Molyneux Cohan, B.A., Oxon, was one of these, and was probably the first of those countless thousands who surrendered their all for the maintenance of the nation’s heritage, and whose sacrifice remains a fragrant remembrance for evermore.

     Lieutenant Cohan, who was then twenty-five, was the son of the late Edward A. Cohan, a well-known shipowner, and Mrs. Cohan, of Wynnstay, Aigburth Drive, Liverpool. He was a grandson of the late Mr. John Molyneux. For his early education he went to the Liverpool College, and from his fourteenth to eighteenth year, as a member of Mr. Haslam’s house, he had a distinguished scholastic career at Uppingham. Later he entered Trinity College, Oxford. Here, as elsewhere, he showed the keenness that was one of the most typical qualities, and he won the popularity that belongs to all true sportsmen. He played football for Trinity, as he had also done for Uppingham, and he subsequently became an active member of the Liverpool Rugby Football Club. The Formby Golf club knew him, too, as a capable player, and he won a series of competitions in the “Royal and Ancient game.”
     Leaving Oxford in 1911 as a graduate in law, he entered on his professional career with the prominent legal firm of Hill, Dickinson & Co., of Liverpool. When in June, 1914 he passed his final examination, his future was one of remarkable promise, for his gifts were coupled with conscientiousness and energy.
     Long before the war clouds gathered over Europe he had realised the needs of home defence, and he was one of those who had patriotically taken steps to prepare themselves for safeguarding the country’s interests in case of an eventuality such as arose in the August of 1914. He was in fact an enthusiastic Territorial, and three years previously – in 1911 – he had been gazetted a Second-Lieutenant in the 1st West Lancashire Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. Every year he went with his brigade to camp. Infusing keenness into his own work and that of his men, and assisting to shape the battery into the efficient instrument it was later to prove in a bitter campaign.
     Just before the war broke out his Brigade had journeyed south for their annual training on Salisbury Plain. The critical condition of European affairs led to them being ordered to return at once to their headquarters in Liverpool, and it was whilst they were en route from the Camp to the Railway station that Lieutenant Cohan met with his fatal accident. This occurred through his charger taking fright at a passing motor tractor and bolting. Getting a leg in a rabbit hole the horse came over on top of him and Lieutenant Cohan sustained a serious fracture of the skull. Although he was removed immediately to London and operated upon by an eminent surgeon, it was found impossible to save his life, and he died August 5th, 1914, without regaining consciousness – a truly tragic end to a career of promise at a time when England was sorely in need of the services of such men as he, already equipped for the great task of confronting the cruel invader of France and Belgium. His fate, under these circumstances, cast a heavy gloom upon the Brigade in which he had won the respect and affection of all ranks.
     Lieutenant Cohan, as we have said, had enthusiasm for whatever he undertook, and many were the people impressed by his frank and genial personality. “He was a pleasant, unaffected, straightforward under graduate, and very popular,” testifies Dr. Blackiston, president of Trinity and Chancellor of the University.
     Although he did not live to fight, he, nevertheless, had done his share of military work before the war began, and by his tragic end, a Territorial soldier was the first of the deathless legion to yield his all for the greater glory of England. Although Edward Molyneux Cohan was thus stricken down by the hand of fate before the actual fighting began, his spirit must have rejoices in the fact that his brother, Captain W.M. Cohan, who was also an officer in the 1st West Lancashire Brigade, was spared to take a full share in the work of the Brigade both in its training and on active service in France.
     Another brother, Henry Molyneux Cohan, served as a gunner in 93 Company, R.G.A. He was on active service in Ceylon from 1916 to 1919, and had just received orders to return to England for demobilisation when he died from heart failure. It will be seen from this record that the Cohan family have been called upon to make heavy sacrifices, but they have the consolation of knowing that their sons won honour as they gave life and service.
A report on his funeral appeared in the inscription in the Liverpool Daily Post on the 11th August 1914.


   The funeral of the late Mr. Edward Molyneux Cohan, second Lieutenant in the West Lancashire Royal Field Artillery, Territorial Brigade, and third son of Mr. E.A. Cohan, principal of the well-known shipowning and shipbrokering firm of Messrs. H.E. Moss and Co., Liverpool, London and Newcastle-on-Tyne, took place at Halewood on Saturday. The deceased gentleman met with an untimely end as the result of an accident during mobilisation on Salisbury Plain. The obsequies were conducted by Canon Irving, assisted by the Rev. B. Heaklots (vicar of St.Thomas', Kendal), the interment being preceded by a service in the parish church. Mr. and Mrs. E.A. Cohan, the parents, were unable to be present, for being on the Continent at the time of their son's death, they could not be communicated with immediately.
   The chief mourners were Messrs. W. Molyneux Cohan, Henry Molyneux Cohan, and Charles Molyneux Cohan (brothers), Miss Cohan, Miss Mary Cohan, and Mrs. Vernon Farell (sisters), Dr. Vernon Farell (brother-in-law), Mr. and Mrs. W.C. Hikman, Mrs. Turnbull, Mr. W.P. Evans, Dr. McClelland, Messrs. H.F. Hawkins, C.J. Byrne, A. Jones (H.E. Moss and Co.), and the maids from Wynstay.
   Among the general mourners were Colonel I. Osborn (commanding officer), Surgeon-Captain Sutherland Richards, Lieutenant T.D. Adams, Battalion Sergeant-Major Earle, and two non-commissioned officers (representing the late Lieutenant Cohan's battery) - all of the 1st West Lancashire Royal Field Artillery: Major Heap, (commanding 3rd Lancashire Battery), Dr. McDougall, J.P., Dr. Peter Stuart, Dr. Fredk. P. Wilson, the Misses Pearce, Messrs. Kneale Morrison (representing the Booth Steamship Co., Lts., and Mr. Charles Booth, jun., J.P.), W. Goffey, jun., John S. McCulloch, Staveley W. Taylor, Herbert A. Low, Francis Reynolds, H.F.A. Le Mesurier, J.K. Blackwood, Ronald Dickinson, R. Glyn Lloyd, H. Stuart, T. Stuart, H.P. Mounsey, G.M. Magee (Hill, Dickinson and Co.), Geo. Rollo, P. Haselden Evans, Andrew Hamilton, James M. Edmiston, Alex. R. Edmiston, John M. Lewis, F. Glynn Whittle, A.C. Kyrke-Smith, T. McClelland, R.G. Hough, Robert Gething, W.E. Gething, J.F. Rogers, Geo. J. Theakstone (vice-chairman, Liverpool Shipping Staffs Association), Langley Thompson, John H. Burrows, Edward Carrothers, Cyril Bernard, W. Noel Cornelius, A.E. Morecroft, William Maples, Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Pigott, Mrs. Kyrke-Smith, Captain J.F. Legget, and Captain C.F. Borg.
   A large number of beautiful wreaths were sent by members of the family and friends, including Colonel Osborn and officers of the 1st West Lancashire Brigade, R.F.A., Major Heath, Mrs. H.F.A. Le Mesurier, colleagues at 10, Water-street, and Newcastle, the Liverpool staff of H.E. Moss and Co., and the nurse and maids at Wynstay.
   The funeral arrangements were carried out by Messrs. G.H. Lee and Co., Ltd. Basnett-street.
Edward Molyneux Cohan was buried at St Nicholas' C.of E. graveyard, Halewood on the 8th August 1914. The church's burial register gave his place of death was given as 10 Aigburth Drive, Sefton Park, and his age as 25 years.
The inscription on the gravestone reads:
In Loving Memory of
Edward Molyneux Cohan is remembered by the Merseyside Roll of Honour.
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