April 30, 2020

12 Wing piper lost in military helicopter crash

Piper Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough on board HMCS Fredericton, March 2020.

Abbigail Cowbrough, a piper with the Grade 4 12 Wing Royal Canadian Air Force Pipes & Drums of Shearwater, Nova Scotia, and a sub-lieutenant and crew member of the Halifax-class frigate HMCS Fredericton, was killed in a helicopter crash during a NATO mission in the Mediterranean Sea near Greece.

Cowbrough was the first victim of the crash to be identified.

“The 12 Wing Pipes & Drums community is deeply saddened to learn about our fellow piper Abbi Cowbrough,” 12 Wing Pipe-Major Katie Buckland said. “Abbi was a member of our band before and after she studied at the Royal Military College. Most recently, she joined our ranks again in 2018 and competed with us at the 2019 World Pipe Band Championships. She always had a smile, was keen to play music and share laughs with her bandmates. She was deployed on HMCS Fredericton for Op Reassurance and loved her job as a Naval Officer. She would always send me pictures of her practicing while in port and performing for her colleagues while deployed. She loved to share her music. She will be missed.”

The cause of the crash of the new Cyclone helicopter on April 29th has not been determined. Search and rescue operations are ongoing.

Cowbrough was one of a crew of six on board the helicopter, which is used primarily for surveillance and search and rescue operations.

12 Wing RCAF Pipes & Drums competed in Grade 4A at the 2019 World Championships, qualifying for the final and finishing tenth overall. The band also performed at the Piping Live! festival.

Abbigail Cowbrough played “Amazing Grace” onboard HMCS Fredericton in tribute to the 22 slain in the April 18-19 mass killings in Nova Scotia.

Our sympathies go to Abbigail Cowbrough’s family and friends at this sad time.



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