|Date of Birth||August 24, 1897|
|Place of Birth||Hull, Yorkshire|
|Trade / Calling||van driver|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Service Record||see images below|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Portsmouth, England|
|Age at Enlistment||17|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||22/05/1959|
|Age at Death||61|
|Buried At||Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora, Ontario|
Clifford Howard was born on 24 August 1897 in Kingston upon Hull (Hull for short), Yorkshire, England. His father was Matthew Edward Howard who worked for the most part as a painter although also found on censuses as a perambulator maker and a hand cart painter. His mother was Sarah Jane Gibson. The couple had married during the first quarter of 1888. Known children born to the family were Beatrice, John, Ann, Dora, Ada, Clifford, Fred, Elsie, Edith, Harriet, Donald, Leonard, and Ethel.
Dora was the first of the Howards to immigrate to Canada, arriving in June of 1911 aboard the Grampian to work as a domestic and married James Daikens in 1913 in Otterville, Oxford, Ontario. Father Matthew was next to arrive, after landing in Quebec aboard the Victorian in June of 1914, headed to Winnipeg, Manitoba with the intentions of working as a painter. Mother Sarah with children Fred, Elsie, Edith, Donald, Leonard, and Ethel arrived in November of 1916 aboard the Scandinavian to join Matthew.
Clifford stayed behind in England and joined the Royal Navy in 1915. With occupation given as van driver, his residence had been Hull. His record describes him as having brown eyes, brown hair, and a fresh complexion. Clifford was first stationed at Victory I as an Ordinary Seaman from 15 October 1915 until early January of 1916; the Victory 1 was an accounting land base at Portsmouth although he may have been serving on smaller ships. In late January of 1916 he was listed as on the HMS Malaya, promoted to Able Seaman in March of 1917. The ship took part in the Battle of Jutland, 31 May 1916, where she was hit eight times, took on major damage and heavy crew casualties with 65 men dying in battle or as a result of their injuries. A description of the battle is available here. One of the officers on the Malaya was LT Johnson, better known as Prince Albert, the prince assuming the name of Johnson so fellow shipmates could avoid the royalty issue. (Prince Albert was crowned King George VI in 1936. After the war Clifford had correspondence with the king.)
Clifford next served on the HMS Excellent, a gunnery training school in Portsmouth, from October 1917 until January of 1918. Clifford also served on the HMS Monitor 24 and saw action in the Zeebrugge and Ostend raids. By May of 1919 Clifford was back at Victory 1 until 28 August 1919 where he was listed as ‘invalided epilepsy & disease of ears’, after effects of the Battle of Jutland. During his service Clifford’s character was consistently classified as VG (very good). Due to his service during the war, Clifford qualified for the war gratuity and was awarded the Victory Medal and British War Medal.
During the last quarter of 1919 Clifford married Annice Wicks in the parish of Royston, Monk Breton, in the registration district of Barnsley, Yorkshire. Born in 1900 in Ossett, Yorkshire, Annice was the daughter of Arthur Wicks, a rag warehouseman, and Sarah Trueman. For the 1911 census Annice was living with her uncle and aunt William and Mary Beasley in Smithies Barnsley, about 115 kms from Hull. Clifford and Annice gave birth to their first child, a son they named Donald, in 1921 as registered in Barnsley, followed by Mabel in 1923, and Edith in 1926, both registered in Doncaster, Yorkshire.
Clifford, ‘Annie’, and the three children were found on the passenger list of the Alaunia that arrived in Quebec in September of 1927, Clifford’s occupation given as railway worker and destination given as Kenora, Ontario.
Clifford’s parents and some of his siblings had moved from Winnipeg to Kenora sometime before the 1921 Canada census. Once in Kenora Clifford and Annice gave birth to three more daughters and a son: Shirley, Doreen, Joyce, and Raymond. Clifford worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway as an engineer, but with the onset of the depression, was laid off. He first found work on the highway construction, and then in October of 1930 was hired as a turnkey engineer at the Kenora Jail, retiring in 1958 as chief engineer. Clifford was a member of St Alban’s Pro-Cathedral, Khartum Temple, Lake of the Woods Shrine Club, Masonic Order, the Eastern Star, Lodges, and the Kenora Branch of the Canadian Legion.
Clifford was predeceased by his father Matthew in 1935 and his mother Sarah in 1957, both in Brantford, Ontario, and siblings Ann, Elsie, and Fred. Ill for some time, Clifford died on 22 May 1959 in the Winnipeg General Hospital following surgery. He is interred in the Lake of the Woods Cemetery, Kenora. Annice died in 1979 and is interred beside him. At the time of his death he was survived by Annice, his seven children, their spouses and twenty grandchildren.
Clifford’s brother Fred enlisted with the Royal Naval Canadian Volunteer Reserve in early 1917, achieving the rank of Stoker and serving on the cruiser Niobe and Seagull. Clifford’s son Donald joined the Canadian Army and served in Europe.
by Judy Stockham and Ray Howard
Photographs courtesy of Clifford’s son Ray Howard