Frederick Howis was born in Ashburton, Devon, the third son of George Howis of Barnstaple Cottage, North Street, Ashburton. He was educated in this Devon town and, according to De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, had quite a colourful career. He was for a time engaged as a jockey at the Racing Stables at Malvern Wells, he was then a miner and then engaged on a mail ship. At time enlistment he lived Pontllanfraith, Monmouthshire.
Frederick joined the Lancashire Fusiliers on 27th July 1916. While training in the UK he married Elsie May Smith at St Botolph’s Church, Colchester on 30th September 1916. Elsie was the daughter of Walter Smith of The Hawthorn Inn, Upper Welland and a schoolteacher.
Newly married, Frederick was posted to France in February 1917 and joined the 2/7th Battalion. He took part in the Battle of Passchendaele and was killed in action near Ypres on 9th October.
On the 29th December 1917 the Malvern News reported:
“The widow of Pte F Howis received a letter from her husband’s platoon officer:
“‘You will no doubt have read the great part our regiment played at the battle of ___. Your husband played his part as nobly as any. He was shot by a sniper and hit again by shrapnel before he could be conveyed to the dressing station. I have known your husband about six months as the best man in my platoon. He was at all times a soldier and a gentleman. He was keen at his work; the best sniper in the Battalion and everyone loved him. His loss is a great blow to me and the platoon.'”
His brother-in-law, Albert Smith died of wounds received during the Great War with the 1/8th Worcestershire Regiment.
Malvern News 22/2/19
Dorothy Stewart 2004
De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour