Cohen Vincent Oswald Captain 177343

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Personnel Entry

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Name Cohen Vincent Oswald
Army number 177343.
Rank Captain
Decorations M.C. gazetted 11/10/1945 - see citation below.
Date of birth 14/2/1912 - registered at Epping, Essex. Mother's maiden surname Harrison.
Age 72 at the time of his death.
Unit Cadet at either 123 or 124 OCTU. Commissioned in the Royal Artillery as a Second Lieutenant on 15/3/1941. Posted to 3rd Mountain Regiment, Royal Artillery. Posted to 1st Mountain Regiment 1/12/1942. Served Normandy and North West Europe. Took over command of his Battery after the wounding of Major Fairclough.
Company/Battery 452 Mountain Battery.
Platoon or other sub-unit
Task or role Troop Commander. Battery Commander.
Joined Brigade Presumably in Wales on 1/12/1942 (to be confirmed).
Promotions War Substantive Lieutenant. Temporary Captain.
Wounded Not as far as is known.
Prisoner of War Not as far as is known.
Died/Killed in action Date of death August 1984. Registered Kensington and Chelsea. See Obituary below.
Home address Son of Cosman Henry (Cashe) Cohen (1868 - 1945) and Marie Louise Harrison. In 1939 Vincent was working as a Commercial Artist and living, presumably as a Lodger, at 43, Gunterstone Road, Fulham, London. Married Kay (details and date not yet traced). Keen mountaineer. One of his most well-known illustrative tasks was to produce the drawings to accompany an edition of Johanna Spyri's novel "Heidi". These can be seen here.
Source table

The citation for Captain Cohen's Military Cross reads as follows:-

This Officer has been a Troop Commander since the Unit came to North West Europe in October 1944 at Flushing. When his Battery Commander was wounded, he commanded the Battery in very difficult street fighting with complete calm and efficiency and he enabled excellent fire support to be given to 155 Infantry Brigade.

During the past six weeks he has taken his Observation Post party in support of 1st Commando Brigade over the Rhine, Weser, Aller and Elbe. He has on every occasion given invaluable support to the Unit to which he was attached. Many times he has advanced with them through heavy enemy mortar and machine gun fire in order to occupy an Observation Post from which he could best bring effective fire on the enemy.

He has at all times set a fine example to his men and given the troops with whom he was working the greatest confidence. By his accurate shooting he has stopped enemy counter measures against our attacks and enabled our own troops to reach their objectives more easily and with fewer casualties.

Captain Cohen's Obituary reads as follows:-

Journal of the Alpine Club – Obituaries for 1984.

Vincent Oswald Cohen, M.C. 1912-1984

Vincent Cohen, who joined the Club in 1961, died in 1984 after a long illness. He was also a member of the Association of British Members of the Swiss Alpine Club which he joined in 1930. His nephew, John Cohen, also became a member of the Club and of the ABMSAC.

Vincent first visited the Alps at the age of sixteen with his French master from Bancroft's School. This gave him an abiding interest in the mountains and thereafter he went to the Alps as often as he could. As a young man he used his talents as an artist to help to finance his climbing, painting pictures and selling them while he was on holiday. During this period he climbed extensively in the Alps and did some routes with Josef Knubel as his guide.

During the war Vincent was commissioned in the 1st Mountain Regiment, Royal Artillery. It was ironical that, following rigorous training for mountain warfare, he took part in the landings at Walcheren. These landings involved heavy fighting and casualties and Vincent was awarded the Military Cross.

Had economics allowed, Vincent would have followed a career as a painter but he was forced to utilise his talents in the commercial field. After spells with the de la Rue organisation and other concerns, Vincent joined Metal Box where he was Design Manager at the time of his early retirement due to ill health.

Vincent was a very popular President of the ABMSAC in 1966-68. In this office he was most ably supported by his wife Kay and together they formed an outstanding team. Tragically, it was during his Presidency of the Association that the illness which was to incapacitate Vincent first manifested itself.

During the Association Meet at Fafleralp in 1967 Vincent collapsed on an ascent of the Bietschhorn although the nature of his illness was not then appreciated. He walked vigorously during the Association Meet in the following year but again experienced difficulties which were subsequently diagnosed as multiple sclerosis.

Vincent was a man of many interests. His photographic slides were of high quality and he considered it a great compliment when Waiter Kirstein borrowed one of them for a lecture tour in North America. Although he was unable to leave his flat in his later years, Vincent never lost his love of the mountains and his interest in his fellow mountaineers. He continued to follow the affairs of the Club with great interest. In fact, his last visit to the Club was to speak in favour of the merger with the Ladies' Alpine Club, which he insisted on doing notwithstanding that his illness was by then causing him considerable discomfort. His many friends will remember Vincent as a man of great charm, humanity, courage and humour. These qualities, together with the devotion of Kay, helped to sustain him during his long period of disability. Our sympathy goes to Kay and to his other relatives.

Maurice Bennett

The help of the Alpine Club in agreeing that this Obituary be uploaded to the Website is gratefully acknowledged.