Herbert was born on 24 March 1880 in Shotesham All Saints to Mary Victoria Howlett. He had an older brother, Arthur William born in 1872. Arthur was baptised in All Saints Church on 2 November 1872 and was recorded as the illegitimate son of Mary, who was described as being a pauper. She was still not married when Herbert was born. He was not baptised until 5 April 1898 when he was 18 years old. This was again in Shotesham All Saints Church.
In 1881 Herbert was living with his mother and brother in the home of Mary’s brother Arthur Howlett in Shotesham By 1891, her brother having married, Mary was living alone with her two sons. She described herself in that Census as a widow and was working as a laundress. Arthur was an agricultural labourer and Herbert was at school.
In 1901 Herbert was living with his mother in Shotesham and was working as a carpenter. Also living at the same address was Herbert’s uncle Arthur and his cousins Herbert George and Gladys. His uncle had separated from his wife Hannah who was living with three other children in North Norfolk.
Herbert married Rosa Ruth Brown in 1906. Rosa came from Saxlingham Thorpe, born 30 March 1882. In 1901 she was working as a cook for the Sewell Family who lived in The Lodge as Saxlingham Thorpe.
Herbert on his wedding day.
By 1911 Herbert and Rosa were living in Saxlingham Nethergate and he was working as a house painter. They had two children at that time Harriet born in 1909 and Ella born in 1911. His mother Mary was also living at the address.
Herbert and Rosa had two other children; Elsie born in 1914 and Herbert Harcourt junior born on 28 November 1920
Herbert with Rosa and daughters. Elsie is sitting on her mother’s knee, Harriet is sitting in front of her father and Ella is standing on the right.
His service records have not survived. There are medical records available which show that in June 1917 whilst in France he suffered from pyrexia of unknown origin. He was taken by 138th Field Ambulance to No 17 Casualty Clearing Station and then transferred elsewhere three days later. In this report it states that he had been in the field for a year and had been in the army for a year and a half. That would mean that he enlisted in January 1916 when conscription was introduced. It is known from postcards that he sent to his wife that he served in France. He sent her and his children postcards of Rouen.
Herbert sent this photograph to his wife of himself inside the barracks.
In November 1917 he was wounded. It was reported on 19 November 1917 that he was entitled to a wound stripe. He was sent to the Warncliffe War Hospital in Sheffield. He was there in January 1918 as he sent a postcard of himself at the hospital to his wife. It is not known in what way he was wounded.
He returned to Saxlingham after the war and continued to work as a painter. In 1939 he was living on the Street, Saxlingham Nethergate with Rosa and his son, Herbert.
He died on 29 June 1958. His address was the same as previously. Probate was granted to his son Herbert who was an engineers’ pattern maker.
England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005
UK Census Collection
1939 Register in www.findmypast.co.uk
Norfolk Electoral Rolls – Southern Division, Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe, (Absent Voters Lists 1918, 1919)
Military Hospitals, Admissions and Discharge Registers WW1
England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1995
Norfolk, Church of England Diocesan Baptismal Records, Shotesham All Saints.
Thanks to Margaret Grey and Pauline Curtis, granddaughters of Herbert Howlett, for information and photographs from the family photograph album.
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