Charles Joseph HOWELL (1893-1917)
Lieutenant Charles Joseph Howell (1893-1917) served with Cyril Sladden in the 9th Battalion Worcestershire Regiment in Mesopotamia.
Charles Howell was born in 1893 in Handsworth, Staffordshire, the eldest of six children of Charles Edward Howell, the departmental manager of an iron works, and his wife, Viola Rosetta. The family home was at 3 Wye Cliff Road, Handsworth.
At the time of the 1901 census, Charles was boarding at the convent school, Alton, Staffordshire. According to De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, he was then educated at St Wilfrid’s College, Oakamoor, Josephite College, Melle, Belgium and Birmingham University.
On 1st September 1914, Charles Howell was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 9th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment. Along with Cyril Sladden, he sailed with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to Gallipoli in June 1915. He was invalided to Malta with dysentery in July, rejoined his regiment in August when he was appointed Machine Gun Officer and Instructor. Like Cyril, he took part in both evacuations at Suvla and Cape Helles. In a letter of 12th January 1916, Cyril Sladden described a walk he did to some hot springs: “I went with Howell, one of our original officers who has been MGO since September, having been away sick in our early days.”
Having obtained a permanent commission in the York and Lancaster Regiment in November 1915, Howell was promoted to Lieutenant in August 1916.
Lieutenant Howell was killed in action on 25th January 1917, the day on which an assault at Kut-Al-Amara was launched. According to Cyril Sladden, in a letter of 31st January 1917: “… Howell, for a long time, was our machine gun officer, of late attached to the newly organized Machine Gun Corps, was killed with most of his section too I believe ….. The worst feature of our casualty list, both officers and men, was the very high proportion of killed and missing, and probably the greater number of the latter are dead.”
Lieutenant Howell is buried in Amara War Cemetery. His Commanding Officer wrote: “He was most popular with all the officers of the brigade, and we miss him very, very much.”
Further details about the events in Mesopotamia at this time may be found on the Worcestershire Regiment website.