Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Aubrey Cosens

In memory of:

Sergeant Aubrey Cosens

February 26, 1945

Military Service


Service Number:

B/46495

Age:

23

Force:

Army

Unit:

Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, R.C.I.C.

Division:

1st Battalion

Citation(s):

The citation in the London Gazette of 18th May, 1945, gives the following details: In Holland, on the night 25/26th February, 1945 the 1st Battalion The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada attacked the hamlet of Mooshof. Sergeant Cosens' platoon, with tanks in support, had as their objective enemy strong-points in three farm-buildings. They were twice beaten back and were then fiercely counterattacked. Their casualties were heavy, including the platoon commander killed. Sergeant Cosens assumed command of the few survivors of the platoon, and placed them so as to give him covering fire while he crossed open ground to the one remaining tank and directed its fire. After a further counter-attack had been repulsed, Sergeant Cosens ordered the tank to attack the three farm-buildings, the remaining men of his platoon following in close support. He himself entered the three buildings in turn, alone, and killed or captured all the occupants. Immediately afterwards he was shot by a sniper, and died almost instantly. His outstanding gallantry, initiative and determined leadership resulted in the capture of a position which was vital to the success of the future operations of the Brigade.

Honours and Awards:

Victoria Cross

Additional Information


Born:

May 21, 1921
Latchford, Ontario

Enlistment:

November 12, 1940
Toronto, Ontario

Son of First World War veteran Charles E. Cosens and Yvonne Cosens, of Latchford, Ontario. Shortly after his birth his family moved to Porquis Junction, near Iroquois Falls, Ontario and he was educated in the Porquis Junction School. He left school in 1938 to work with his father on the railway as a second hand.

He left Porquis Junction in 1939 to join the Royal Canadian Air Force but his application was rejected. Finally, in 1940, he went to Hamilton, Ontario and was accepted by the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (Hamilton) Regiment. He served with them in Canada, Jamaica and England; then transferred to the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada in the summer of 1944 and was soon promoted from corporal to sergeant.

Commemorated on Page 505 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Aubrey Cosens is a recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Complete list of Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients

Burial Information


Cemetery:
Grave Reference:

VIII. H. 2.

Location:

Groesbeek is located 10 km south east of the town of Nijmegen and close to the German frontier. The Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery is 3 km north of the village and 1500 metres east of the main road to Nijmegen. On leaving the A73 motorway at the junction Overasselt Mook Groesbeek follow directions to Mook. Follow direction signs towards Mook War cemetery. After passing Mook War cemetery continue to the village of Groesbeek to a set of traffic lights. Turn left at the lights onto Dorpstraat passing through Groesbeek. The road name then changes to Molenweg. A Commonwealth War Graves Commission direction sign indicates the right hand turning from Molenweg onto the Zeven Heuvelenweg. The Groesbeek Canadian War Cemetery is located on the right hand side, about 1 km after entering this road. On the Memorial in the Canadian War Cemetery at Groesbeek are inscribed the following words:
Pro amicis mortui amicis vivimus, We live in the hearts of friends for whom we died.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of Aubrey Cosens– This photo of Sergeant Cosens shows him wearing a beret with the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada "Big 2" cap badge.  Contrast this to the usual photo (in Victoria Cross winners' collage) which was taken of him while he was with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada (with his Arygll's Glengarry).
  • Newspaper Clipping– This article by Ross Munro, on Sgt. Aubrey Cosens, is from the March 13, 1945 Ottawa Citizen.
  • Newspaper Clipping– Newspaper clipping
  • Telegram
  • Medals– This photo was taken by Captain Craig Cameron in June 2000. The medals of Seregeant Cosens' and his portrait are on display at Moss Park Armoury, Toronto.  The Victoria Cross in the collection is a replica. The original VC is displayed at the Canadian Rifles Glenbow Museum in Calgary, Alberta.
  • Cenotaph– Barrie Military Park, Canadian Victoria Cross Recipients, Cenotaph
  • Salute– Members of the Canadian contingent salute while paying their respects at the grave of Victoria Cross winner, Sergeant Aubrey Cosens, who is buried at the Groesbeek Commonwealth cemetery in the Netherlands.  Department of National Defence photo: July 22, 2004, Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
  • Grave Marker
  • Grave Marker– Photo taken during the 55th Aniversary of the Holland Campaign.
  • Gravemarker– Sergeant Aubrey Cosen's gravemarker.
Photo by Geoff Winnington-Ball, Maple Leaf Up.

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