Aussie seeking info on WWI Sapper - Help Please?

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by Mr_Farenheit, Oct 4, 2010.

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  1. This should probably go on the History forum - feel free to move it if appropriate.

    I am in the process of going through my late mother's effects, & have come across a small card (3 x 4.5 inches, white with a black border) I'd scan it but I don't have a scanner with me
    Anyway, it reads,

    For King & Country
    In Ever Loving Memory
    Sapper William Ward Howson
    The Dearly Beloved Son of George & Elizabeth Howson
    Carleton Villa, Skelton
    Died in Hospital in Belgium, Tuesday February 4th, 1919
    Aged 28 Years
    Interred in Belgrade Cemetery, near Namur

    It is a real mystery as the surname is not one i'm familiar with, but if Sapper Howson isn't somehow related, I can't imagine why Mum would have this card.
    Mum was born in Carlilse & her family emigrated to Oz sometime in the mid 30's. One of her elder brothers was killed at Tobruk in April 1941, I've just found a cigar box with his medals in.

    I'm really looking for some pointers for further research to find out more about Sapper Howson. Any help greatly appreciated.

    Oh, & is Skelton anywhere near Carlilse?

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Commonwealth War Graves Commission is your starter for ten.

    and found him here

    Several Skeltons in England, one here:
    Map of Skelton, Cumbria[City/Town/Village]&searchp=ids.srf&mapp=map.srf
  3. Died influenza his army recorsa are online with of the few that survived. Only lists his father as NOK mother may have died by 1919.

    1901 Census

    Skelton Rd? Penrith
    Father George Howard age 41 Joiner
    Mother Elizabeth aga 39
    Boarder John Scott age 51 Joiner
    Mary E Howson daughter listed as schoolgirl
    William W Howson listed as schoolboy
    Thomas Todd listed as schoolboy Nephew.

    WW Howsons enlisment papers have him as Joiner by trade he was Westmorland Cumb Yeomanry on joining in 1916
    His grandfather going back to the 1881 census is listed in the same house as Master Joiner the houses look like farm properties

    There is loads of info out there bit more detective work needed like Elizbaeths maiden name.

    your surname now so I can see if there is a link somewhere.
  4. Thanks mate, thats a great start, stupidly, i didn't even think of the CWGC, thanks.

    I understand that WWI records can be hard to track down. Is there any way to use his service No. to locate details about his unit?
    (thanks for your help & patience)
  5. 303rifleman made his post while I was typing my last.

    Mate, Thomas Todd (schoolboy in 1901) is the key. Todd was my grandmothers surname & along with the card & my uncles medals I found a very old, torn photo of a young man in British Army uniform (complete with bandolier) signed on the back, Love to all, Tommy, 9/4/18. I was saving that mystery for another day:)

    As for Skelton, I have an idea that Grandmother Todd may have come from Penrith, I think there may even be a copy of a birth certificate somewhere.

    Thanks very much for your prompt replies chaps, it is greatly appreciated!
  6. Carleton Villa - comes up on Google Earth if you search for "carleton villa, skelton, cumbria"

    Looks like a nice place (Streetview) - would have been handy for school (just over the road).
  7. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Found his medal card and some service details. Need to pay £2 for more info though.

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

    Alot of WW1 records were destroyed by a German bomb and fire in WW2. Many people died from Spanish flu in 1919-20 (more than died in the war itself).
  8. I didn't think of that either! looks a nice quiet spot, & it is quite close to Carlilse were I still have family. I can add it to my schedule when I visit next year, thanks.
  9. That's brilliant, thanks.

    I'm a bit surprised that so much info is available, I know a lot of people have a very hard time tracking down WWI relatives. Perhaps it has something to do with the cause of death.

    We all learn in school about WW1, but the Spanish Flu epidemic seems to have been largely forgotten.
  10. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    There's a strong theory that the war helped to spread the flu. Generally weakened populations through lack of food and returning war veterans travelling to all corners of the globe. The Russian revolution and all that jazz.

    There's plenty of genealogical info available, it was the military records at the War Office that took the big hit.

    Here's more:
    Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry Museum

    The Westmorland & Cumberland Yeomanry in 1914-1918

    and plenty of Howsons in Skelton:

    Descendants for Richard Dufton b1648 - Name Index - Generated by Personal Ancestral File

    His Dad is here:

    and a possible Kiwi relative here:

    Farmers | NZETC

    Which part of Aus are you in, by the way? My sister lives out there. One of your Rugby League players came to Castleford in the 80s and took her back home with him.
  11. His service papers survive.

    20 quid to Holidays for Heroes gets you a transcription of them.

  12. Thanks for the info, i repeat, i'm staggered at how quickly (& seemingly easily) you lot are finding it.

    I'm in the Newcastle/Maitland area & lived in Sydney in the late 80's-early '90's. I Hope he was a Dragon!
  13. Brotherton Lad

    Brotherton Lad LE Reviewer

    Er, no. Sydney Paramatta and Canberra Raiders. They're on the coast now, about 200 miles south of Sydney.

    Brett Atkins - Summary
  14. Can't pass up an offer like that, let me sort it out (because I'm so grateful for all the help I've recieved i'll make it 50) & i'll do it in the morning. Thanks.