CWG: Gunner William Howard

Gunner William Howard

William Arnold Howard was born in Cumbria towards the end of 1887. He was the youngest of two children, the son of gospel minister Edwin Howard and his wife Alethea. Edwin’s role took him across the country; by the time William was four, the family were settled in Worksop, Nottinghamshire; ten years later, they were based in Taunton, Somerset.

William’s older sister became a music teacher, and was presumably inspired by her father’s calling. William, however, took a different route, and, by the time of the 1911 census, was listed as a physical culture expert.

He had, by this time, met and married a woman called Alice, and the couple had two children, Edna and Marjorie. The census found the young couple living in a three-roomed house in the middle of Taunton.

War was on the horizon, and William enlisted as a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery. His battalion – the 3rd/4th Siege Reserve Brigade – were those manning with large scale weaponry, although, as part of the reserve, Gunner Howard was based in England for the duration of the conflict.

William was awarded the Victory and British Medals for his service but once the Armistice was declared it seems that he fell ill. He was admitted to the Military Hospital in Taunton with exhaustion following a bout of enteritis, and succumbed to this on 15th January 1919. He was 31 years old.

William Arnold Howard lies at rest in the St James Cemetery in Taunton, Somerset.


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