Private S/10021 Enoch Howell

Killed in Action Persian Gulf on Thursday, 22nd February 1917, age 22.
Commemorated on Panel 37 and 64 of Basra Memorial, Basra, Iraq.

1st Bn., Seaforth Highlanders. 21st Indian Brigade of 7th Indian Division.
Formerly 31610 Royal Field Artillery.

Son of Enoch and Sarah Howell.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, 14th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the St. Paul's, Golds Hill Memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/866172/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Enoch Howell registered June quarter 1894 in West Bromwich.

1901 Census
Cottage Canal Side, In Tube Works, Golds Hill, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Enoch Howell (35, Foreman in Tube Works, born Coseley), his wife Sarah (35, born Tipton), and their 3 children: Enoch (7, born West Bromwich), George (6, born West Bromwich), and Richard (2, born West Bromwich).

1911 Census
Canal View, Golds Hill, West Bromwich, Staffs.
Enoch Howell (46, Works Manager -Tube Trade, born Leabrook), his wife Sarah (46, born Tipton), and their 3 surviving children of 5: Enoch (17, Tube Maker, born Golds Hill), George (16, Tube Drawer-out, born Golds Hill), and Richard (13, School, born Golds Hill).

Personal Data

Enoch Howell seems to have very little, if any, connection with Tipton. The 1901 and 1911 Census returns show him as either born in West Bromwich or Gold's Hill. However 'Soldiers Died in the Great War' shows his place of birth at Tipton, so he is included here.

The correct identification of Enoch Howell's genealogical data was only possible after the release of Soldier's Effects on ancestry, thanks to Graeme Clarke for pointing that out. This showed his mother and sole legatee was Sarah, she received his outstanding pay of £20/4/9d (twenty pounds, four shillings and nine pence), and also received his War Gratuity of £3/0/0d.

Action resulting in his death

The slow advance towards the town of Kut-el-Amara had reached Sannai-y-Yat by 22 February.

On this day, according to their War Diary, the 1st Seaforths stood to arms at 5.30 am. At daybreak, neighbouring troops could be seen about a mile away to the right moving towards Suwaikiya Marsh. At 6.30 am British artillery began to bombard the enemy's camp behind their trench lines and also the enemy front trenches. In addition, machine-guns swept the area.

All this activity drew little response, although enemy aircraft did come over and drop a few bombs on the Allied camp.

The War Diary entry is pretty matter-of-fact and does not reflect what happened later in the day when, after no fewer than five counter-attacks, the enemy made the decision to retire.

During the afternoon, Indian troops to the right of the Seaforths moved forward but later had to give ground. Sgt Thomas Steele of the 1st Seaforths saw the gap which was being created and prevented a Turkish advance by efficient use of his machine gun. For this Steele was awarded the Victoria Cross.

During the evening the Seaforths sent patrols out as far as the fourth line, which was found to be empty, although a few stray Turks were rounded up. The advance towards Baghdad could continue, and it was captured on 11th March 1917.

52 men of the 1st Seaforths lost their lives on 22 February. Enoch Howell, like most of his comrades killed that day, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Post 14th March 1917
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS- Howell, 10021. E., (Tipton).