Private Harry Jowett

Private Harry Jowett of the 16th Battalion Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment. Service number 1368.
(This was the First Battalion of The Bradford Pals.)

Harry Jowett in his British Army uniform. He is wearing the cap badge of the Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment.

Early life:
Harry was born on the 16th May in 1897 at Cross Roads cum Lees, near Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire. He was the only child of parents James and Elizabeth Jowett and his father was a wool sorter.
He was baptised on 20th Jun 1897 at St James' Church, Cross Roads, near Haworth.
In the 1901 census he was living at 19, Ruth Street, Haworth with his parents.
In 1911 Harry was living at 20, Knight Street, Ferncliffe, Bingley with his parents. Harry's occupation was 'doffer,' probably at a spinning mill, but as he was later employed as a wool sorter for Mr. J. H. Beaver at Bowling Green Mills, he could have been working at the same mill and just got a promotion. This mill complex is now owned by Damart and is just off Park Road, Bingley and it's huge chimney can be seen from almost anywhere in the town.

War service:
The earliest likely date for Harry's enlistment was probably April 1915, based on the war gratuity payment. If that's the case he was seventeen years old at the time, but if it was after 16th May he would have been eighteen.
He enlisted at Bradford with the 16th Battalion Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment. After training he was posted straight out to Egypt with the battalion. In December 1915 they set sail for Alexandria in Egypt to defend the Suez Canal arriving there on 22nd December. In March 1916 The 31st Division left Port Said aboard HMT Briton bound for Marseilles in France, a journey which took five days. They travelled from there to Pont Remy, a few miles south east of Abbeville and marched to Bertrancourt arriving on 29 March 1916.
They went into action at Serre on the Somme where they suffered heavy casualties as the battle of the Somme was launched on the first of July.

Final Farewell - a family story
When her only child Harry left his home in Bingley, Yorkshire for the final time his mother waved him goodbye.
He could see she was sobbing as he made his way down the hill to the station, so he walked back up to Knight Street to kiss her and said he would soon be home. Harry was making for his unit and the theatre of war in Northern France. She never saw him again.
(The source for this story is Nellie Casson, Harry Jowett's cousin. Nellie died in 1938.)

Note: Knight Street has since been demolished and was below but parallel to, Crow Nest Road, off Ferncliffe Road.

Keighley News report dated 8th July 1916:
Private Harry Jowett (19), of Knight Street, Bingley, also of the West Yorkshire Regiment, has been killed in the fighting of the past week in France.
He was a single man and was formerly a woolsorter in the employment of Mr J. H. Beaver, Bowling Green Mills, Bingley.
News of his death has been received from his parents from a soldier chum of their son.

Keighley News report dated 29th July 1916:
On Saturday afternoon last a special memorial service was held in St. Wilfred's Church, Gilstead, for two former Sunday-school scholars, Private Harry Jowett, of Bingley and Private Robert Magee, of Gilstead, who were killed in action in France while serving in the West Yorkshire Regiment. The Rev. F. A. Hodd (vicar) was the preacher, and conducted the service. There was a large attendance of relatives, friends, and workmates of the deceased soldiers.

His body was never found and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing, Somme, France. Memorial Reference: Pier and Face 2 A 2 C and 2 D.
He is remembered locally on the Bingley War Memorial at Myrtle Park in Bingley.

The panel on the Bingley War Memorial which contains Harry's name in the centre.

A sandstone war memorial with a hexagonal base which has names on all the vertical panels. on top is a large pillar topped with an ornamental cross.

Bingley War Memorial with Harry Jowett's name on one of the panels.

Post war:
Harry was posthumously awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal. These appear to have arrived with his parents in America in November 1921 as the family own a copy of an accompanying letter for the Victory medal. It's fair to say the other medals would have been issued at a smiliar time.
Harry father James was his next of kin and he received Harry's outstanding pay of £3 5s. 6d. on 4th November 1916. he also received a war gratuity payment of £4 on 19th September 1919.
Harry mother Eliza later received a war dependants pension which was paid to her in America. This was the sum of 3 shillings and 8 pence on 19th August 1919, followed by 4 shillings and 3 pence for 288 weeks, then 5 shillings per week after that.

Harry's parents James and Elizabeth Jowett were both 53 when they emigrated to Philadelphia, America and were recorded living there in the 1920 census. They departed on 14th November 1919 on the SS Adriatic.

His name is not on the Cross Roads war memorial where he was born, possibly because his parents had submitted his name for inclusion on the Bingley war memorial instead, as that one was nearer to where they lived. These two memorials were both unveiled in 1921, so it was a couple of years after James and Elizabeth had emigrated to America.
Harry is also named on two Gilstead War Memorials. One is a flat topped round stone at the side of the road on the junction between Primrose Lane and Gilstead Lane. The other is mounted on the wall inside St. Wilfred's Church, just a few metres along the road from the junction.

Information sources:
England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index, 1837-1915
West Yorkshire, England, Births and Baptisms, 1813-1910 about Harry Jowett
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Soldiers Died in the Great War
British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920
UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920
UK, World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923
UK, Army Registers of Soldiers' Effects, 1901-1929
Keighley News archives held at Keighley Library
Imperial War Museum
Passenger Lists Leaving UK 1890-1960
US Census 1920

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