For Posterity's Sake         

A Royal Canadian Navy Historical Project


They made the Ultimate Sacrifice


Abbigail Lillian Cowbrough


Sub-Lieutenant, Marine Systems Engineer, RCN


Born: 22 Jul 1996


Died: 29 Apr 2020 at sea


Book of Remembrance


COWBROUGH, Abbigail Lillian, SLt, RCN, killed - 29 Apr 2020, HMCS FREDERICTON - SLt Cowbrough died when the CH-148 Cyclone from HMCS FREDERICTON crashed into the Ionian Sea approx 80 km off the coast of Greece on 29 Apr 2020.


COWBROUGH, Abbigail - Age 23, of Dartmouth, died suddenly on April 29, 2020 in the Ionian Sea.

A bright light continues to shine through the darkest parts of our own hearts. Abbigail had a crazy grin that could brighten any room. She was willful, smart, determined and kind. She leapt and danced her way into so many hearts. She sung, all be it horribly, with gusto and bravado. She tried new things all the time, especially food. She loved food. She didn't do anything small; she was all about hard work and determination.

You never expect things to go wrong but when they do, they go horribly wrong. Abbigail is survived by such a long line of biological family and she has been adopted by so many around the world on her travels as a granddaughter, sister, mother, aunt. We all have loss. We are now eternally connected. All of us. I could go on with the clichés about being a good soldier, but she would feel never enough for those with whom she had the honour to serve. Glory other than to God is not what she would have in mind and I feel it may not be enough anyway.

I brought her into this world; good, bad and the ugly. She lived hard. She read books, lots and lots of books, from Manga to Philosophy, and fun ones (she read everyone the Wonky Donkey with a Scottish accent). She flew kites and actual airplanes, skydived and traveled. She fed ducks and picked pussy willows in the spring. She could puddle jump like no one's business, even at 23. Abbigail believed in fairies. She was the girl who would trip a toddler if it meant she could see a Disney princess first. But she would sit, hold a baby in her arms and have freckle fights with random strangers. She snuck into every crevice of the darkest parts of people. She also snuck onto places top brass couldn't go just because she had the ability to manipulate anything into her command. I don't doubt she would have done great things, but she is expecting us all to stand up and get things done.

Abbigail loved her civilian family as well as her Military one, her NATO, Pipes and Drums and Church families. These were her biggest teachers and supporters; they nurtured her and reared her. It is only right that she was blessed to die in their service. I swear I can hear the pipes and drums over the breeze with her belly laugh. She is looking over her shoulder with that signature coy Abbigail kiss. I catch it like that moment between heart beats; that quiet fluttering. It has been said we only have but one death to spend, and who would not want to pass with brothers in arms. She did not die for her God, family, country or Navy; she lived for these things.

Cremation has taken place. Burial at sea ceremony will be held on the Battle of the Atlantic Sunday, 2021 from HMCS FREDERICTON.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to UN-NATO Veterans Nova Scotia Chapter. (Halifax Chronicle-Herald 16 May 2020)


SLt Cowbrough's ashes were committed to the sea in a ceremony on HMCS SACKVILLE on 21 Sep 2020


Ships served in:



Cadet Abbigail Cowbrough, RMC Kingston


(1) MCpl Matthew Cousins, RCAF  (2) SLt Matthew Pyke, RCN  (3) Capt Maxime Miron-Morin, RCAF

(4) Capt Kevin Hagen, RCAF   (5) Capt Brendan MacDonald, RCAF   (6) SLt Abbigail Cowbrough


Six Canadian flags fly on the yardarms of HMCS FREDERICTON during a memorial service onboard ship for their lost shipmates

Photographer: Cpl Simon Arcand

C.A.F. photo / Crown copyright








In Service of Canada - RCN Peacetime Casualty Index