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Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - James Howlett

Died 5th October 1918, aged 33
Bellenglise, France

Family history

James Howlett was born in Quorn in 1886, the youngest son of Thomas and Mary Ann Howlett. Thomas and Mary had moved to Quorn in the 1870s with their two children, probably due to Thomas’s work as a farm labourer. They eventually had eight children, but only six survived into adulthood. The family lived at 6 Sarson Street in ‘New Quorn’, and this is where James was born and spent his childhood.

Married life
On Christmas Day in 1907, James married Eliza Tyler from Wymeswold and afterwards they lived with James’ parents in the house on Sarson Street. A year later they had their first child, Thomas James (Jim), who was quickly followed by two more boys. James supported his young family with his job at Mountsorrel Quarry, but this settled life was not to last. Just over a year after war broke out, but before compulsory conscription came in, 30 year old James joined the Royal Garrison Artillery on 4th December 1915.

Killed in action
James was killed in France when the armistice was only just over a month away. It was ‘the final push’, the second battle of the Somme; and five Quorn men were killed in those few days. James is recorded as dying of his wounds in a ‘field ambulance’, however in this context, a field ambulance does not mean a vehicle, but refers to a mobile medical unit. His death left 31 year old Eliza a widow with four sons and a daughter. The children’s ages ranged from John, who was under two years old, up to Jim, who was nine.

James’ eldest son, Jim
Very shortly after his father died, Jim went to live with his Aunt Liz (Howlett), who had married Charles Gartshore. The reason for this is unclear, but it may have simply been that his mother was struggling, after being left on her own with five young children.
Eliza remarried in 1927. She married Ernest Pierpoint and they had at least one more child.

When James’ eldest son Jim died in 1991, James’ memorial plaque was found tucked away at the back of his pantry in a box, together with the original notification of James’ death. This was form B 104 - 82, a ‘fill in the blanks’ type form, that was a very brutal way to convey such tragic news. Jim had never talked about his father to either his son Derick (James’ grandson), or anyone else.

Howlett’s Bus Company
James’ eldest brother George, went on to found Howlett's Bus Company in the early 1920s. This was a large, thriving and well known bus company for many years, and their depot was on Barrow Road, at the back of the houses, roughly where Freeman’s Way is today.

1) This photograph of James Howlett was cut out (with scissors) of a group photograph and colour washed.
2) The Howlett family home at 6 Sarson Street.
3) Form B 104 – 82, the notification of James’ death, together with the memorial plaque, found at the back of his son Jim’s pantry. The writing will be clearer if you click ‘Enlarge’, below the image.

 view larger image
 Submitted on: 2020-01-13
 Submitted by: Sue Templeman with many thanks to Derick and Steven Howlett
 Artefact ID: 2307
 Print: View artefact in printer-friendly page or just on its own.

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