11th August 1916
The County Herald
Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Eifion & Viv Williams
Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Northop Memorial
Name / Enw: Howell, Joseph Leigh
Regiment/Catrawd: 1st South African
Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Lance Sergeant 3983
Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Delville Wood Cemetery
Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: XV L4
Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: France
Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory Medal, 1914-15 Star and the British War Medal
Date of Death: 16th July 1916
Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:
He was killed in action on 16th July 1916 on the Somme aged 39 years.
Joseph was one of the children of Gilbert and Mary E Howell. In 1881, the family lived at Celyn in Northop. Gilbert was a farmer of 260 acres employing 6 men. The two youngest children, Joseph Leigh (5) and Mabel (1) were living at home but three older children were not listed. There were two domestic servants Martha Parry and Alice Foulkes.
In the next census of 1891, the family was still farming in Northop. This time there were more children listed. Gilbert jnr was 24, Emily was 20, Ada was 19. Joseph Leigh was 15 and Mabel was 11.
In the 1901 census, the family was to be found in Colbourne House, Ufton, Warwickshire where Gilbert aged 68 was a retired farmer. With him was his wife, Mary E and one daughter, Mabel who was 21. Were they just visiting or had they actually left Northop? Joseph was by then in South Africa.
Joseph Leigh fought in the South African (Boer) War and also saw active service in German South West Africa and in Egypt.
Grateful thanks to Joseph Leigh Howell’s Great- Nephew and namesake, Leigh Howell for sharing with us these items.
May 2017 – e mail received from another Gt nephew, David Keating with a little more family history. Many thanks David.
Subject: L. Sgt. Joseph Howell Message: I have just come across this website and am most grateful that you have established it. I am another great nephew of Joseph. My grandmother was his sister Emily. Their parents moved to Colbourne House where Emily met my grandfather, a local farmer. I know cousin Leigh and we have exchanged family information. Gilbert Howell, father of Joseph was with his brother Leigh an iron master at Bagillt. They built the now beautifully restored Lady Evelyn Wheel on the Isle of Man. Gilbert then retired as an iron master and took up farming.
Joseph Leigh Howell is also named on the Hope and Caergwrle memorials. Follow the link to the Hope memorial to read more about his family and it’s links with this village,
15th September 2008
Visit to Delville Wood Cemetery and the South African Memorial.
This cemetery is near the village of Longueval, in the Somme, about 11 kilometres from Albert. Delville Wood was a tract of woodland about 1 kilometre square. In 1916 it was fiercly defended by South African battalions which suffered very heavy casualties.
Across the road from the cemetery is the National South African Memorial. Unfortunately, we visited on a Monday and the Visitors’ Centre was closed. The grounds have now been replanted with trees but the shell craters and trenches in the woods are still visible. The area is hallowed ground as many casualties still lie buried in unmarked graves.
Only one tree survived the onslaught and this is it – a gnarled old Hornbeam tree which has its own plaque. All the rest of the trees have been replanted.
We found Joseph’s grave and it had planted in front of it, a South African flag. It was in good condition and dry (there had been recent torrential rain) and seemed fairly new, prompting us to wonder if we had just missed relatives visiting his grave. If there are any relatives of Joseph out there, please get in touch via our Guest Book. The words at the bottom of the gravestone say,
‘To Live in Hearts We Love is Not to Die’.
We wrote in the Visitors’ Book
A Visit in memory of Joseph L Howell who grew up on a farm in Northop, Flintshire and then went to live in South Africa, Hedd Perfaith Hedd
We were thrilled when Joe’s Great nephew in Canada found our website. He has been able to provide us with images of the artefacts below to add to this page.
A small item cut from a Flintshire newspaper giving us a little more detail about Joe’s life.