Robert Joseph Cowman was born at Fairfield, Liverpool in August 1893 and was baptised at Laurel Road Methodist Chapel on the 30th September 1893.
He was the eldest son of Joseph Gregory Cowman and Margaret Watson (nee Sutton) who were married at Whitehaven in 1892. His parents were both born at Whitehaven, Cumbria but his father had been living in Liverpool from as early as 1881. He started his career as a shipowner's clerk but by 1901 was a shipbroker working on his own account.
Robert had one brother, Frederick Gregory Cowman, who was born in 1897.
Joseph Gregory Cowman lived at 4 Swiss Road, Fairfield in 1891 with his mother and sister, Marion, and this was still his address at the time of  the 1901 and 1911 census. His wife's unmarried sister, Annie Adeline Sutton was also a member of the household in both 1901 and 1911.
In 1911, aged seventeen Robert Joseph was working as a chartered accountant's articled clerk.
Robert's service records have survived. They show he enlisted in the Liverpool Pals at Liverpool on the 1st September 1914.
He was 5ft 9 inches tall, weighed 136 lbs, and had a fair complexion, grey eyes and sandy hair. His religion was Wesleyan Methodist.
He was 21 years and 4 days old and his articles he had signed for five years were due to expire on the 27th October 1914. His address was 1 Cavendish Drive, Blundellands.
He was appointed unpaid Lance Corporal on the 5th December 1914, paid Lance Corporal on the 3rd April 1914, and Corporal on the 2nd September 1915.
He was posted overseas with his battalion on the 7th November 1915.
In May 1916 he spent ten days in hospital suffering from German Measles.
Robert went missing at the Somme sometime between the 10th and 12th July.
His parents received a letter from one of his comrades telling them that Robert had been badly wounded on the night of the 11th July but no further news of him ever came to light. His death was "assumed by Army Council for Official purposes" to have occurred on the 12th July.

A request for information concerning his fate appeared in the Liverpool Echo on the 23rd August 1916. His photo appeared in the report and is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo.
   Corporal Robert J. Courman, of the "Pals," who has been reported missing since July 11, resided with his parents at 1, Cavendish-road, Blundellsands. He served his articles with Messrs. J.W. Davidson, Cookson, and Co., chartered accountants, Liverpool. His parents will be grateful for any information about him.

Liverpool Echo 23rd August 1916

His only brother Frederick Gregory Cowman also fell in September 1918.
Probate of both their estates was obtained at Liverpool by their father in 1920. Robert's effects were valued at 112 14s 1d (4,900 at current values.)
Their parents had moved to 15 Coronation Drive, Great Crosby by 1919 but later retired to 8 Vicarage Lane, Cockermouth. Their father died at this address in 1938 and their mother at 10 Goschen Road, Carlisle in 1949.