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  • Photograph from the Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website
Person Details
Frank was born in 1880 (J/A/S Nottingham) the son of Isaac and Annie Howitt. Frank was one of seven children of whom only four survived infancy or childhood: Elizabeth, Frank, Harold, and Ethel. His father was a shop porter and his mother a lace mender. In 1911 they lived at 9 Walker Street, Sneinton; only Harold (20) an assistant machinist (woodmill) and Ethel (16) a blouse machinist were still living at home. Isaac and Annie were still living at the same address when Frank was killed in 1917. Their son Harold also served in France and survived the war. Frank married Alice Pilkington (b. 11th August 1882) at Nottingham St Ann on 28 September 1902 (J/A/S Nottingham). They had the following children: Lawrence b. 16th October 1902, Gertrude Alice b. 29th April 1906, Frank b. 21st February 1913, Gladys b. 10th April 1915 and Frederick born posthumously 23rd August 1917 (J/A/S Nottingham, Pilkington). In the 1911 census the family was living at 41 Randolph Street, Nottingham, and shown as Frank 30yrs, a window cleaner, his wife Alice 28yrs a machinist and their two children Lawrence 8yrs and Gertrude 4yrs. They later had Gladys, Frank and Frederick who was born four months after his father's death. At the time of Frank's death in 1917 the family was still living at 41 Randolph Street. His widow Alice was living at 17 St Chad's Road, Nottingham, in 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled. Also in the home was her son Frank, a manufacturing chemists' departmental senior clerk. Alice died in 1963 (A/M/J Nottingham).
He was a window cleaner in 1911.
04 Apr 1917
251752 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Nottingham, residence 41 Randolph Street, Carlton Road, Nottingham.
2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Frank Howitt enlisted on 27th April 1915 at Nottingham giving his age as 35 yrs and 8 months and his occupation that of window cleaner. He was living at 41 Randolph Street, Carlton Road, and his next of kin was his wife Alice of the same address. Frank served initially with the 15th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys) Regiment. He was promoted lance corporal on 2nd July 1915 and to corporal on 30th July 1915. He was posted to the 19th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys) Regiment on 18th August 1915. He was promoted lance sergeant on 27th August 1915 and to sergeant on 13th October 1915. He went France on 19th December 1916 and was posted to the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys) Regiment on 9th January 1917. Frank was killed in action at the age of 36 on 4th April 1917 by German shellfire while serving in the line near Philosophe, France. He is buried in Vermelles British Cemetery (grave ref VI.A.15).La He qualified for the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
CWGC Vermelles British Cemetery: 'The cemetery was begun in August 1915 (though a few graves are slightly earlier), and during the Battle of Loos, when the Chateau was used as a dressing station, Plot I was completed. It was laid out and fenced by the Pioneers of the 1st Gloucesters, and known for a long time as "Gloucester Graveyard". The remaining Plots were made by the Divisions (from the Dismounted Cavalry Division onwards) holding the line 1.6 kilometres East of the cemetery until April 1917, and they incorporated a few isolated French graves of October 1914. From April 1917, to the Armistice, the cemetery was closed; but after the Armistice some graves were re-grouped and others were brought in (to Plots II, IV and VI) from the battlefields to the East.' Given that the cemetery was closed in April 1917 until the Armistice, Frank's body may have been exhumed and reinterred in this cemetery. CWGC headstone personal inscription: 'Greater love hath no man than this' Nottingham Evening Post, 'Roll of Honour', 23 April 1917: 'Howitt. Killed in action April 4th, Sergeant Frank Howitt, Sherwood Foresters. Son of Mr and Mrs Howitt, 9 Walker Street. Father, mother, sisters [Elizabeth, Ethel] and brother [Harold] in France.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Roll of Honour’, 23 & 24 April 1917: ‘Killed in action, April 4th, Sergeant Frank Howitt, Sherwood Foresters, 41, Randolph-street. He sleeps not in his native land, but ‘neath a foreign sky, far from those who loved him best, in a hero’s grave he lies. The midnight stars shine on the grave, of one we loved but could not save. From sorrowing wife and four children.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, ‘In Memoriam’ 4 April 1918: ‘Howitt. In loving memory of my dear husband, Sergt. F Howitt, SF. Killed April 4th, 1917. I mourn for you not with outward show, for the heart that mourns sincerely mourns silently and low, there is sorrow in my heart no human eye can trace, for many an aching heart lies beneath a smiling face. From wife and children.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Nottingham Evening Post, 'Roll of Honour', 4 April 1918: 'In loving memory of our dear son, Sergt. Frank Howitt, killed April 4th, 1917. Ever in our thoughts. Father, mother, sisters and brother in France.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) His widow Alice was awarded a pension of 33 shillings and 9 pence a week for herself and her five children, Lawrence, Gertrude, Frank Gladys and Frederick. Payment commenced 22nd October 1917. Frank's personal possesions were returned to his wife and comprised a disc, letters, photos, pipe, 2 notebooks, matchbox, knife, pruse, cards and walllets.
Remembered on


  • Photograph from the Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website
    Frank Howitt - Photograph from the Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website
  • CWGC headstone marking his grave at Vermelles British Cemetery (Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website).
    Frank Howitt - CWGC headstone marking his grave at Vermelles British Cemetery (Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour website).