James William Howard

Date of birth: 3rd September 1896
Place of birth: Hemsworth, Yorkshire
Regiment: Royal Air Force
Squadron: 99th
Rank / Service No: 2nd Lieutenant
Died: 26th September 1918, aged 22 years
Buried: Charmes Military Cemetery, Essagney, France (Plot I, Row C, Grave 6)


James was the second of 3 siblings born to William and Martha Howard (nee Broughton), who married in Hemsworth on 7 August 1893.

The family latterly lived at 3 Brinton’s Terrace, St. Mary’s, having been in York at the 1911 Census.


William, a surveyor with the Ordnance Survey, was born in Norfolk on 6 November 1866 and he died in Southampton in 1924.

Martha was born in Hemsworth in 1865 and she passed away in Southampton in 1945.



Edith Broughton   b. 22 February 1895 Hemsworth   d. 4 October 1949 So’ton General Hospital   Married Richard Henry Hartwell in Rotherham in 1923.

James William 

Alice Elizabeth   b. 6 October 1899 Hemsworth   d. 1980 Southampton   Married Reginald John Gadsby in Southampton in 1923.



James arrived in France on 22 August 1918, to join his squadron at their base in Azelot.

The squadron had De Havilland DH-9 and DH-9A aircraft and it never exceeded 10 aircraft.


On 26 September 1918 the squadron attacked the railway near Thionville, in support of a Franco-American operation in the area.

James was in the first of two 5-plane formations, flying D544 with Lieutenant D. H. West.


Three planes turned back with engine trouble, and the remaining 7 were attacked by German fighters.

After losing 1 of the remaining aircraft, Captain Welchman decided the remaining aircraft would attack the railways at Metz-Sablon rather than at Thionville.


A further 5 aircraft were lost on the return from Metz, again to fighters, including D544.


Charmes Cemetery holds the graves of 69 R.A.F personnel, all in Plot I.


James’ headstone reads: “At rest, his duty done.”



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 3rd October 2016


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