The Facebook page, Staffordshire Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-1918, features a document sent in by the great-grandson of Private Joseph Howl, which is a letter from King George V, sent to Howl on his repatriation from being a Prisoner of War in Germany.
The birth of Joseph Howl was registered in 1892 and he worked as a fitter before the war. In the 1901 census, he was living with his parents Joseph and Mary, sister Edith and brother Charles at 7 New Sun Street. He married Annie Thomas on 12 July 1914 at St James’s Church to Annie Thomas, with their address on the marriage certificate being listed as 87 Alma Street. The couple went on to have six children – Clara, Joseph, Miriam, Kenneth, William and Peggy – between 1915 and 1932.
Joseph Howl’s Prisoner of War record gives a lot more details. He served with the B Company of the Durham Light Infantry (number 79611). His date of birth is given as 21 November 1891 in Wolverhampton, and his next of kin is given as Mrs Howl, back 86, Alma Street, Wolverhampton. He had been captured unwounded on 27 April 1918 in France. He was kept at the Hirson camp, before being moved to Dülmen. After the war, Howl attend the Peace Dinner, hosted by the Express & Star, at the Baths Assembly Rooms at Wolverhampton in March 1919.
His great-grandson also recalls that Howl had been gassed during the war and suffered from respiratory problems for the rest of his life.