4/8776 Lance Corporal Joseph Simpson Howson, 4th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry died 19 January 1915 and is buried in West Auckland Cemetery.[1]  He was 20 years old and is commemorated on West Auckland War Memorial and the Roll oh Honour, West Auckland Memorial Hall.

Family Details

Joseph Simpson Howson was born 1895 [2] at Murton County Durham the son of Isaac and Mary Howson.  There were at least 9 children: [3]

  • John bc.1876
  • James bc.1879
  • Christiana bc.1883 at Fylands Bridge
  • Mary Edith bc.1885 at Lanehead, Lynesack
  • Isaac bc.1889 at Framwellgate Moor
  • Phoebe bc.1891 at Kimblesworth
  • William bc.1893 at Kimblesworth
  • Joseph bc.1895 at Murton
  • Robert bc.1899 at Seaham Harbour

In 1901, the family lived at Shotton near Easington, in east Durham where 45 year old Isaac worked as a coal miner.[4]  By 1911, the family lived at 16 Peases Street, St. Helens where 55 year old Isaac worked as a coal miner (waggonwayman).18 year old William and 16 year old Joseph both worked as coal miners (helper putter). [5]  At a later date, the family lived at 13 Tindale Crescent, Bishop Auckland.[6]

Service Details

Joseph Simpson Howson enlisted at Bishop Auckland 10 August 1914 when aged 19 years 7 months[7] and was given the regimental number 4/8776. [8] He underwent a medical examination 11 August 1914 and was 5’8¾” tall and weighed 136 lbs.[9] He served with D Company.  At some time later he was promoted to Lance Corporal.  Lance Corporal J.S. Howson died 19 January 1915 when aged 20.  He had served with 4/DLI for 5 months.

The Medical Case Sheet[10] records that he was treated at 1st Northern General Hospital Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

“4 January he got his clothes wet & that night suffered from pains in the back & head.  Between Jan.4th & 7th he was able to go about though he complained of pains in the head & back.  Physical examination on admission – He complained of pain in the head and cough.  There were signs of general bronchitis.  Temperature 100˚ Pulse rate = (indecipherable) 

No other physical signs.

Jan 12th Temperature 103˚ Pulse rate =118 Resp: 24 

Some suspicious spots between the thorax and abdomen

Jan 14 Further crop of rose coloured spots

Jan 16 Widal reaction reported to be positive.  Patient lethargic & at times delirious

Jan 19 Temperature 104˚ Pulse rate = 142  Respiration = 48

Patient died.”


Lance Corporal J.S. Howson is buried at West Auckland Cemetery.


Lance Corporal Joseph Simpson Howson is commemorated on West Auckland War Memorial and the Roll oh Honour, West Auckland Memorial Hall.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales 1837-1915 Birth Index Vol.10a p.467 1895 Q1

[3] 1901 & 1911 census & Army Form W.5080

[4] 1901 census

[5] 1911 census

[6] CWGC

[7] Army Form Army Reserve (Special Reservist) 6 years service

[8] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[9] Army Form B.178

[10] Army Form I.1237


HOWSON J.S. Possible

HOWSON J.S. Headstone