John Claude Howlett
Serial No. 3638
55th Battalion & 1st Battalion
John Claude Howlett - Information
John Claude Howlett was born in Woodburn on the 30th of March 1889. He later moved to Campbelltown where he fell in love with Edith Emily Gabriel. John and Edith married at St Peters in Campbelltown on Boxing Day in 1907. Their family began to grow, when they welcomed baby William George in 1908. William was followed by John Thomas in 1910, Samuel James in 1913, and Isaac Frederick in 1915. When the war broke out, the Howlett family was living in Appin, as John supported the family working as a labourer. With their youngest baby just two years old, John enlisted in the AIF in Sydney on the 2nd of July 1917, aged 28.
John was moved from the Royal Showground Camp in Sydney to the M & D Depot in Liverpool. There, he was posted as a Private to the 10th Reinforcements, 55th Battalion. He was shipped overseas, departing Sydney on the 31st of October 1917 on the HMAT Euripides. Disembarking at Devonport on the 26th of December 1917, John was marched into the 14th Training Battalion at Codford. He then proceeded to France in April 1918, to the Calais Depot. From there, he was transported to the trenches and was taken on strength to the 1st Battalion during the heavy fighting that followed the German Spring Offensive. However in June, John went to hospital with trench fever and influenza, and was invalided to England for recuperation the following month. He received treatment at Colchester, Hurdcott, and Weymouth, before going back to the lines on the 8th of November 1918. He arrived back in France just in time for the Armistice. However, it seems that John had not fully recovered, consequently reporting back to hospital with influenza in December. In late April 1919, John left for Australia. Arriving in Sydney, John shortly reunited with his family in Appin where he was able to watch his children grow up. John inspired his oldest son, William George, who joined the military during the Second World War. William became a Leading Aircraftman in the RAAF serving from 1942-1946. John and Edith became grandparents and pillars in the community. They both passed away in the 1950s and are buried together at St Marks in Appin.