In the Milton Cemetery in Weston-super-Mare is a gravestone to Alfred Harry Howe. He seems destined, sadly, to be one of those servicemen whose stories are lost to time. The stone confirms that he died on 6th April 1916 and that he was a Private in the Gloucestershire Regiment. Further research adds that he was assigned to the 3rd/4th Battalion.
The UK Army Register of Soldier’s Effects gives his father’s name as William. It also confirms that he was not eligible for a war gratuity, as he had insufficient service; given the date of his death, it is likely, therefore, that he enlisted on or after October 1915.
Beyond this information, however, there is little documentation to confirm exactly who Alfred was. As there is no date or place of birth, it is difficult to get an exact match. There are at least three William/Alfred matches in the Somerset/Bristol area, but nothing to connect them to the headstone in Weston-super-Mare, and nothing to even confirm that Alfred was from the South West.
There is nothing in any contemporary newspapers to suggest that Private Howe’s passing was anything out of the ordinary.
Sadly, therefore, he remains a name lost to history. Alfred Harry Howe, whoever he was, and however he died, lies at rest in a Somerset cemetery.