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The Men Who Died



85               86

Harry was born in Tadcaster, Yorkshire, in 1885 the son of David and Mary (nee Simpson). His parents had married in 1875 when they were both only 17 years old and by 1881 they were living in Hambleton, Yorkshire with their first three children. David was working as a farm labourer at this time. Four more children follow between 1882 and 1887 but unfortunately Mary dies in 1889, aged 31.

In 1891 David is working as a coalminer and bringing up his seven children alone. His eldest daughter Annie, 15, was at home and his eldest son William, 13, working as a pony driver at the coalmine. the other children, including Harry, were at school.

Another tragedy strikes the family when David dies in 1898, aged 38. Harry is living in Yorkshire with his married sister in 1901, along with two of his brothers. He is working as a pit pony driver at this time.

By 1911 Harry has enlisted and is serving as a private with the 1st Battalion, South Wales Borderers and is based at Chatham Barracks in Kent. He marries Eleanor Jane Youseman, 24 in August 1912 at St John's Church, Brecon.

Harry is sent to France on August 13th, 1914 and would have been involved in the Battle of Mons, and the subsequent retreat, the Battles of Marne and Aisne.


Richard was living in Brecon in 1908 and married Ethel Alice Brookes in Hereford. She was born in Herefordshire in 1887.  The 1911 census lists him as a private in the South Wales Borderers living at 56, The Watton, with his wife and son, Richard aged 2. They had three other children, one being born a few months before Richard's death.

Richard served for about 18 years in the South Wales Borderers and was for some time attached to the depot staff in Brecon. On the outbreak of World War One he was mobilised with his battalion and served with it at various stations. At the time of his death, the battalion were based in Liverpool and Richard died at Fazackerly General Hospital there of a perforated gastric ulcer and general peritonitis, apparently whilst undergoing an operation. His body was

transported to Brecon for a full military funeral at the town's cemetery. Richard's wife Ethel died in Brecon in 1959 age 72 years. She was well known in the town and had lived in the same house in The Watton for over fifty years.

Private Henry Simpson Howcroft

South Wales Borderers, 1st Battalion, service no. 8740

Killed in Action September 27th, 1914, aged 29

Buried atLa Ferte-Sous-Jouarre Memorial, Dept. de Seine-et-

Marne, France