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Henry William Howe

Private 594610 Henry William Howe, 53rd Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

Henry was born in Windsor on 11 September 1900 the son of Wallace Henry Howe and his wife Carrie Dora née Stratford.

13 St Nicholas Road

13 St Nicolas Road

- the Howes' family home.

He was the eldest of eight children, his siblings were: Frederick Alphonso (born 1902), Wilfred Wallace (1904), Dora Lydia May (1907), Edith Delia Kezia (1910), George Edwin (1911), John Francis (1914) and Winifred Alice (1918). Sadly John died soon after his birth.


Wallace worked as a printer’s machine minder, no doubt it was an employment opportunity that brought the family to Newbury in 1908. Henry had begun his schooling in Windsor before the move, on 7 September 1908 he started at St Nicholas National School in Enborne Road, Newbury. At that date the family were living in 10 Heathfield Terrace in Mill Lane, but they were not there long. By 1911 they were living at 13 St Nicolas Road – a small, new road that was not covered by local directories until after the war, so it has not been possible to determine when they moved. However, they had left Mill Lane by the time Cosburn’s 1909 directory was compiled.


On 11 September 1914 (his fourteenth birthday), Henry left school to begin work as a paper boy.


Royal Warwickshire cap badge

The cap badge of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment

- as used on CWGC headstones.

Henry would have been conscripted in the Army on, or soon after, his eighteenth birthday in September 1918. When the Armistice ended the fighting in November, he was serving with the 53rd (Young Soldier) Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment. This was a training battalion to which young recruits were sent for basic training. Once trained he could expect to be transferred to another battalion on active service. The end of the war changed this – conscription ended so there was no flow of new recruits into these training units, so they became a settled cadre of trained men with no particular place to go.  The Army decided to re-designate them as Service Battalions and send them to Germany as units of the British Army Of the Rhine (BAOR), In March 1919 the 53rd (Service) Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment became a part of the 86th Brigade, Southern Division, BAOR based at Bergisch Gladbach a short distance east of Cologne.


Name on Newbury War Memorial

Henry's name on Newbury War Memorial. (top left)

It was not long after the battalion settled in Germany that Henry died on 22 June 1919. The cause of death recorded was ‘acute otitis’ – an ear infection. An ear infection is rarely fatal, but, without antibiotics, the infection probably developed into a fatal sepsis or blood poisoning. His place of death is recorded as Cologne, probably at a hospital in the city.


He was buried in grave I.C.6 at Cologne Southern Cemetery on the outskirts of Cologne.

Locally he is remembered on tablet 10 of the Newbury Town Memorial and on the memorial board and roll of honour in St Nicolas’ Church.

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 Died this day:
25 July 1945
S W A Hawker

British Legion

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