‚ÄčRoyton Roll of Honour

JONATHAN HAROLD HOWLETT
Age:23
Date of Death:05/09/1916
Rank:Gunner
Service No:83105
Regiment:Royal Field Artillery
Unit:D Bty. 36th Bde
Cemetery:
Couin British Cemetery
Grave Ref:IV.A.16


Jonathan Harold Howlett (known as John) was born in Blundellsands near Liverpool in 1893. His father, Jonathan Benjamin Howlett was a Police Constable originally from Norfolk. Mother Jane hailed from Cumberland. John was their only child. By the time of the 1901 census they had moved to 325 Oldham Road, Royton with John's father taking up a post with the police in Royton. John was a pupil at Blackshaw Lane school. The 1911 census found them living in the Thornham district at 202 Castleton Road with John's father having retired from the Police and now working in the manufacture of Herb Beer.  John himself was by this time an apprentice Engineer Fitter perhaps at Messrs Peters Ltd on Whitehall Street in Rochdale. It was at this firm that he was working when he enlisted in the army in 1914 just before the outbreak of war. By that time it was just himself and his father as mother Jane had died in 1913.
John enlisted in Bury and there is a suggestion that he was first with the Royal Horse Artillery but it was with the Royal Field Artillery that he served with overseas. He got to France on March 11th 1915. He was later with D Battery of 36th Brigade RFA but that particular battery was created in May 1916 from a section each from 47th (Howitzer) and 56th (Howitzer) Batteries so there's every chance he was with one of those two units from March 1915 up until May 1916. Both the 36th Brigade and the two Howitzer Batteries were part of the artillery force belonging to the 2nd Division of the British Army so we are able to pinpoint the battles John Howlett would have taken part in. These are the Battle of Festubert, the Battle of Loos and the Battle of Delville Wood. This last one came to an end on September 3rd 1916, John was to die two days later. We can't say with certainty when he was injured but the unit war diary states that they lost 1 man killed and 2 wounded on the 3rd and another man wounded on the 4th. After his death his father received a letter from his unit saying that John was..

"one of the best chaps we could ever wish to know, and we were always proud of him and glad to have him with us while in action. When wounded in the gun pit he was treated with the upmost skill and care. You may leave it to us to see that he is decently buried, as are all Britishers"

The Oldham Chronicle reported that John had been well known and respected in Royton. His father Jonathan passed away in Rochdale Infirmary in 1924.