Private Frederick Howard

March 25, 2015

 

On 13th March 1915, Private Frederick Howard was killed, during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. He was born in 1897 and worked at the Bluemel’s factory prior to the war. He enlisted in Rugby and his number suggests he enlisted at the end of August 1914 or beginning of September 1914. On 12th January 1915, Frederick was posted as a reinforcement to 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment, then located in trenches facing Neuve Chapelle in France. During March 1915, the battalion were involved in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. The losses to the battalion were severe, with 370 men killed of all ranks, including 19 officers. The battalion had gone into action on 10th March 1915, the first day of the battle, with a strength of 26 officers and 870 rank. On the morning of 13th March 1915, the day that Frederick died, the whole battalion could muster no more than 7 officers and 450 men. The 1st battalion left the battlefield on 13th March, so it is likely that his death had occurred at an earlier date, but was reported on 13th March.

 

Frederick’s death was reported in the Coventry Herald on 9th April 1915: 
“DEATH OF PRIVATE F. HOWARD – The sad news has reached Wolston of the death of Pte. F. Howard, of the Worcestershire Regiment. When war broke out he was one of the first to volunteer. He had been at the front for several weeks and a number of cheery epistles had been sent home by him. Private Fred Webb, of Brandon, in writing home, said he had fallen, but the War Office has only just confirmed this statement. The deceased, who is the only son of Mr. Fred Howard, of Wolston, was very popular in the village, being a favourite with all who knew him. He was for several years connected with the scout movement and became a patrol leader. He is the first of the Wolston volunteers to lay down his life. Much sympathy is felt for his father and sister. Private Howard’s mother died some years ago. Although only 18 years of age Wolston is certainly poorer for his death, as he was a credit to the village.”

Frederick has no known grave. He is commemorated on Le Touret Memorial, Richebourg-L’Avoue, Pas-de-Calais, France and on the Wolston War Memorial.

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