Howson Brothers

Timelines: Ribbon of Remembrance Howson Brothers
Announcement Date: November 2, 2018

Three members of the same family served with the Lincolnshire Regiment. Seth William George Howson served with the regiment and received both the Queens South Africa and the Kings South Africa medals for his service during the South African Wars 1899-1902. He survived and is listed as living in Lincoln in 1911 along with his wife Elizabeth and his two sons George William and Arthur Balfour. Both his sons served with the Lincolnshire Regiment during the First World War.

Sgt George William Howson, the elder son, worked as a labourer and painter prior to joining the war effort. He served with C Coy of the 1st and 4th Battalions of the Lincolnshire Regiment. Sadly he was killed on 13th October 1915. He was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal posthumously and his effects were left to a Miss Sarah Ann Petty. We do not know how Miss Petty and George were related; was she a family relation or a future wife?

CSM Arthur Balfour Howson MM survived the war and was awarded a Military Medal and a silver war badge in addition to the First World War medal trio. The Military Medal was awarded for bravery in battle, but no citation survives to describe the specific action for which Arthur received his. Aged 23, Arthur married Emma Eliza Stanford in 1916 in Lincoln. He worked in the manufacturing sector after the war, and is listed as in charge of Stationery & Mailing depots on the 1939 Register.

Arthur died in 1973 at Friesthorpe House, Lincolnshire aged 80.

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  • Joseph Stoney

    Information from Judith Farrar which relates to her husband Don’s great-uncle. Joseph Stoney’s occupation before the war as a stonemason, a skilled trade which places strenuous demands upon the worker’s hands. This was of some consequence following his attempt to enlist at the start of the First World War. He had previously been a territorial soldier with the West Yorkshire Regiment and when war broke out he naturally offered his services to his former regiment. His record shows that he was accepted, but that after only sixteen days he was discharged. The medical discharge paper records ‘Deformity of both thumbs, rheumatoid arthritis. Loss of gripping power. General debility.’ This judgement is reinforced by a second comment in a second hand, ‘Not likely to become an efficient soldier.’ This judgement did not deter Joseph from trying again, as his medal card attests. He managed to join the 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment as 21581 Private J Stoney and was awarded the British War medal. Unfortunately John died either on the way out to India where the battalion was stationed, or when returning on leave. John died from dysentery on 10 May 1917 and is buried in the Cape Town (Maitland) Cemetery. His headstone appears to record the correct regimental number, but displays the West Yorkshire badge, rather than the Yorkshire Regiment.  

  • Norton Elliott

    Submitted by Paul Elliott. My grandfather, Norton Elliott, was born in Rothwell, near Leeds, in 1890 and worked as a miner. In August 1914, at the outbreak of was, he joined the RAMC, but transferred to the RFC in July 1915. He became a mechanic and was promoted to Sergeant in August 1916 and to Flight Sergeant and Chief Mechanic in 1918. He subsequently became a specialist driver and served in the RAF until 1923. He married Evelyne Dobson in 1919. I know nothing of where he served or in which squadrons. At the outbreak of World War 2 he ran away from home to re-join the RAF at the age of 49. My grandmother was reputed to be something of a dragon. He again achieved the rank of Flight Sergeant and served until 1944. He died of cancer in 1970 at the age of 79.

  • John Mattison

    Alyson Swift contacted us through our website to tell us about her great grandfather, John Mattison. John was from Richmond and was called up on 10th May 1917, joining the Royal Flying Corps. While he may look very smart in what is known as his ‘Maternity’ pattern tunic and side cap, Alyson wanted to draw a different aspect of his role in the First World War to our attention: “He was an entertainer in the the camp concert party. He and his party won a talent contest at the Croydon Empire Theatre. He sang ‘the Laddies who fought and won’ and ‘keep right on to the End of the Road’ for which they won 20 pound!!”