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Frederick was born on 17 July, 1896 in Croston and was the son of Dr. Joseph Duncan Howe and Helen Mary Dowd.

Helen Mary Dowd was born in Dublin and Joseph and Helen married there in 1892. They had 7 children altogether including Frederick. The first one was Joseph Christopher Campbell (1893) then Robert Godfrey Shaw (1894), Douglas Redfern (1898-1899), Raymond Trevor Wordsworth (1899), Clement Cuthbert Dowd (1903) and finally Sydney Shannon (1905-1905).

The family had been living in Croston and that is where most of the children were born but by the 1901 Census they had moved to live at 1 Burrow Road, Preston. Frederick`s father Joseph was a medical practitioner (surgeon) and the family also had a live-in children`s nurse by the name of Sarah S. Nolan.

The 1911 Census shows the family had moved again, this time to a 10 roomed house at 94 St. Stephenson`s Terrace which was on Deepdale Road, Preston. By this time the family had acquired a live-in cook and housemaid.

On the 10 December, 1915 Frederick enlisted at Preston for the duration of the war and was put in the 3/4th Battalion. He was given the service number 4635 which later changed to 201480.

According to his medical inspection report Frederick was 5`11” tall, weighed 144lbs and was of good physical development.

On the 3 June, 1916 Frederick left Southampton with a draft of reinforcements landing at Le Havre the following day. A couple of weeks later he was posted to “A” Coy 1/4th Battalion joining them in the field on 18 June, 1916.

On the 8 September, 1916 Frederick was wounded and reported missing in action. His death was confirmed the following day.

The following report was made in the local paper shortly afterwards.


Frederick`s mother Helen signed for his personal effects on 19 May, 1917 and these included:-

  • 1 ID Disc
  • 1 leather wallet
  • Letters/photographs
  • 1 fountain pen
  • 1 metal watch (damaged)
  • 1 purse and 2 coins (value 3 farthings)
  • 1 cap badge
  • 1 aluminium ring
  • 1 prayer book/2 testaments
  • 1 metal chain

Private Frederick William Duncan Howe received the British War and Victory Medals which his mother signed for on 7 July, 1921.

Frederick is buried with honour in Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban, Somme, France.

Rank: Private
Service No: 4635
Date of Death: 09/09/1916
Age: 20
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Additional information about the other Howe brothers

Joseph Christopher Campbell Howe – RAMC working on board the HS Letitia. Lieutenant, then Captain. Also worked in Guys Hospital, Macedonia Sept 17-Apr 19. Awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and the 1915 Star. He survived the war.

Robert Godfrey Shaw Howe – Sapper R.E. awarded BWM and VM. Survived the war.

Raymond Trevor Wordsworth Howe – 2nd Wireless Operator Mercantile Marine on board the SS Palmella. The Palmella left Liverpool bound for Lisbon with a general cargo on 22 August, 1918. She was torpedoed by UB92 just 25 miles from South Stack Rock, Anglesey, North Wales. All 28 hands lost. His body was eventually washed ashore off the Cumbrian Coast. Raymond was taken back to his birthplace Croston and is buried in St. Michaels Church there.

This soldier was researched and published by Janet Davis

Janet Davis
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