Frederick James Howard
From Our Contribution
courtesy Narelle Howard. Fred standing, with older brother George seated
|Date of Birth||Baptised 21 Nov 1896|
|Place of Birth||Fremantle, Western Australia|
|Death||23 Jul 1916|
|Place of Death||Poziéres, France|
|Age at Enlistment||20 years old|
5'8¾" (1.75m) tall ; 139 lbs|
63.049 kg; fresh complexion ; blue eyes ; light brown hair
|Religion||Church of England|
|Address||Jarrahdale, Western Australia|
|Next of Kin||Brother , Mr William Thomas Howard|
|Date of Enlistment||14 Sep 1916|
|Unit/Formation||11th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement allocated to B Company / 3rd Brigade, 1st Division|
|Date of Embarkation||17 Jan 1916 ‒ 9 Feb 1916|
|Ship Embarked On||HMAT A30 Borda|
|Fate||Killed in Action 23 Jul 1916 at Poziéres|
Jarrahdale War Memorial |
Jarrahdale Honour Roll
ANZAC Memorial Park (Byford)
Australian War Memorial
British War Medal |
Fifth son, and 10th child born to parents Charles Robert Howard and Ann McCreery, both of whom were deceased by the time he enlisted in the A.I.F.
Eight weeks after entering Blackboy Hill camp, Fred was allocated to the 13th reinforcement draft for the 11th Battalion, and he travelled with them to Egypt. Fred was taken on strength by the battalion at Serapeum on 17 Mar 1916, just 12 days before they boarded HMT Corsican in Alexandria Harbour on 29 Mar 1916, disembarking in Marseilles on 5 Apr 1916. Posted to B Company, but Army Form B2090a lists him as a member of D Company at the time of his death.
During the night of 19th Jul 1916 11th Battalion relieved the Durham Light Infantry in the front line at Poziéres. The next two days were spent extending and improving the trenches that they occupied, before on the night of 22/23 July 1916 when they, together with the 9th Battalion on their right, and the 1st Brigade on their left, attacked the enemy trenches in front of Poziéres. The Battalion frontage was 500 yards (460m)
Set two objectives, the first being the enemies line of trenches, and the second some targets beside the railway line south east of the township. D Company on the left, along with A Company on the right were given the task of taking the trenches, with the others to then move through them to secure the second objective. Around 11:40pm A and D Companies crawled over the parapet and out into No Man's Land to take up positions about 50m from their target trenches. Some casualties resulted from an enemy machine gun firing on spec into the area where they waited for the opening 2 minute bombardment. As soon as the bombardment started the troops crawled closer to the German trenches and immediately it lifted, they rose to their feet and charged the objective, meeting opposition, but taking no prisoners. Some continued on towards the second objective but ran into friendly artillery fire. Patrols sent out searched the ruins of Poziéres, and ran into opposition, and took casualties.
Fred's body was never found, with him being declared as Killed in Action long after the battle was over. Therefore he may have been killed by the friendly artillery on the first night, or his body buried or destroyed during the incredibly heavy German artillery bombardment that occurred over the next few days.
The battalion's War Diary at the end of the battle recorded the following casualties: Killed 6 Officers and 62 Other Ranks; Wounded 11 Officers and 358 Other Ranks; Missing 1 Officer and 91 Other Ranks. Fred appears to have been one of those missing, as confirmation of his death was dated 10 Oct 1916.
Sadly Fred's death caused disagreement between his oldest brother and sister as to who was entitled to his possessions and War Bonds.