Cedric Ernest (Spike) HOWELL DSO, MC, DFC

HOWELL, Cedric Ernest

Service Number: 5257
Enlisted: 1 January 1916, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Captain
Last Unit: Unspecified British Units
Born: Adelaide, South Australia, 17 June 1896
Home Town: Heidelberg, Banyule, Victoria
Schooling: Melbourne Grammar School
Occupation: Draughtsman
Died: Drowned (Aircraft crash), Corfu Island, Greece, 10 December 1919, aged 23 years
Cemetery: Warringal Cemetery, Victoria
Body recovered and returned to Australia for burial
Memorials: Albert Park St Silas' Anglican Church Howell Memorial Window, Heidelberg War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

1 Jan 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 5257, Melbourne, Victoria
14 Mar 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 5257, 14th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Anchises, Melbourne
14 Mar 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 5257, 14th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
24 May 1916: Transferred AIF WW1, Private, 46th Infantry Battalion
11 Nov 1916: Transferred Royal Flying Corps
16 Mar 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, SN 5257, Discharged due to Commission in the RFC.
31 Jul 1919: Discharged Captain, Unspecified British Units

Flight Captain Cedric Ernest Howells

Flight-Capt. Cedric Ernest Howells D.S.O., M.C., R.F.C., who has entered with his Martinsyde aeroplane for the flight from England to Australia, is a son of Mr. E. Howells, of Melbourne, and a nephew of Mr. P. A. Howells of Prospect (S.A.). He was born in South Australia, but before he went away with Victorian forces he had
lived in Middle Park and Heidelberg, Vic., and was educated at the Melbourne Church of England Grammar School. He held a commission in the Citizen Forces, but as he was under 21 years he had to enlist as a private. He left Australia (says the "Melbourne Herald") with the 16th Reinforcements for the 14th Battalion, and
after having served in Egypt he volunteered for service in France, and left with the 46th Battalion. He had an adventurous career, and took part in heavy fighting. After having been appointed a sniper, he was one of 200 men picked for training in the Royal Flying Corps. He passed through Durham and Oxford successfully, and secured a first and excellent certificate at Hendon as a pilot. After training in England he left as a scout, and served in France. Later he was transferred to Italy, where he won all his distinctions. He has brought down
about 30 enemy machines, and one of his machines, credited with 20 victims, is preserved by the air authorities. In addition to the distinctions mentioned above, Captain Howells was mentioned in despatches for good work on the Italian front. Since his return to England after the armistice, he passed an important examination at Gosport and secured an Al certificate. Until recently he was in charge of the aerodrome at Nether Wallop, Hampshire. His aeroplane is of the
commercial type—a two-seater, with dual control, Rolls-Royce and Falcon engines, -a cruising speed of 100 miles an hour, a range of 1,000 miles, and a maximum air speed of approximately 145 miles.

Critic (Adelaide) Wednesday 20 August 1919 page 7

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Biography contributed by Nathan Rohrlach

Cedric Ernest Howell was born in Adelaide in June 1897 to Ernest Howell and Ida Caroline Howell (nee Hasch.) After completing his studies at Melbourne Grammar School he became a draughtsman. A keen soldier, at the time World War One broke out, he held a commission in the citizen’s forces. Enlisting in 1916 he was allocated to the 14th Battalion and embarked with the 16th Reinforcements of that battalion soon after. He served with both the 14th Battalion and the 46th Battalion, with the later one on the Western Front before being one of 200 AIF personal transferred to the Royal Flying Corps in late 1916.

Trained with RFC, by the time the armistice was signed in November 1918 he had attained the rank of Captain in RFC and had being awarded the Distinguished Service Order, Military Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross, several foreign awards and had also being Mentioned in Dispatches a couple of times. A star aviator, in August 1919 he was nominated by Martinsyde Ltd to be their pilot for their entry into the England to Australia air race to be held later that year. Paired with Lieutenant George Henry Fraser, also an Australian, who was a qualified navigator and engineer, they started their race in England on 4 December 1919. Plagued by bad weather throughout the early part of their trip, on 10 December their aircraft crashed into the sea near the Greek island of Corfu after failing to make a landing on the island. Captain Howell drowned soon after the crash and when his body washed up on shore it was returned to Victoria where he was buried with full Military Honours.     

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For more information on Cedric Howell the reader is directed to the links in the side-bar, particularly the excellent entry into the 2012 ANZAC Spirit School Prize (rslvwm.s3.amazonaws.com)

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