Frederick Henry John HOWLAND

HOWLAND, Frederick Henry John

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 9 July 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Colonel
Last Unit: Sea Transport Staff
Born: Bayswater, England, 1863
Home Town: Mount Gambier, Mount Gambier, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Builder
Died: Natural causes , Mount Gambier, South Australia , 18 September 1952
Cemetery: Mount Gambier Lake Terrace Cemetery
Memorials: Naval & Military Club of SA - Boer War Roll of Honour
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Boer War Service

1 Oct 1899: Involvement Captain, 1st South Australian Mounted Rifles
16 Oct 1899: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces - Boer War Contingents, Captain, 1st South Australian Mounted Rifles, The Boer Offensive
1 Dec 1900: Involvement Australian and Colonial Military Forces - Boer War Contingents, Major, 1st South Australian Mounted Rifles

World War 1 Service

9 Jul 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Colonel, Officer, Sea Transport Staff, Melbourne, Victoria
16 Jul 1915: Embarked AIF WW1, Colonel, Sea Transport Staff, HMAT Demosthenes, Melbourne
1 Apr 1916: Discharged AIF WW1, Colonel, Sea Transport Staff

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Captain Howland, of the Mount Gambier Infantry, is now in his 36th year. He was born at Kensington, London, in 1863. His first experience in military matters was as super in the 1st Middlesex E.V. Royal Engineers in 1879. After three years in that force, he came to Australia, and went to Mount Gambier in 1883. Since then he has carried on business at the Mount as a house decorator, being a member of the firm of Messrs. Brown & Howland. When the Volunteer Company was formed at Mount Gambier during the Russian war scare in 1885 Captain Howland was appointed Lance-Corporal under Captain Davison. Since then he has gone through every rank, and was appointed captain in 1893, and again under the new Act in 1896. He was made adjutant at the end of the encampment in June of last year. Captain Howland, who is now senior captain in the 2nd Battalion, has always taken a great interest in military matters, and in the encampment of 1898, during the illness of Major Gatt, he had command of the battalion on several occasions. Six years ago he passed the practical and theoretical examination for the rank of Major.

The South train which arrived at the North-terrace Station at about half-past 7 on Tuesday evening brought with it the man under whose guidance the little band of South Australian volunteers will go to assist the forces of Her Majesty's Government in South Africa. Captain Howland is an unassuming gentleman, with a military bearing, and as he stepped out of the carriage the small company of Mount Gambier volunteers who had assembled to welcome him wanted to give three cheers, but they were requested not to do so. Our military reporter had a chat with the captain a little later in the evening, and found him to be a pleasant conversationalist. The Captain stated that when he received by telegraph at 5 o'clock on Monday afternoon the notification of his, appointment he at once prepared to join the contingent in the city. He had scarcely expected that the appointment would fall upon him, and had become fully reconciled to the idea of having to remain at home. However, he had hastened to the city to report himself at the Staff Office according to instructions. He recognised the responsibilities which would devolve upon him in the post
with which he had been entrusted, and was quite prepared to work hard with the men who had been chosen. He had not seen
the members of the contingent, but had been informed that they were a splendid set of men. No doubt they would work well together, and render a good account of themselves in the campaign which was before them. After he had reported himself to the Acting Commandant he would join the men in camp, and would leave no stone unturned to give them a thorough and efficient training. Speaking of personal matters, Captain Howland stated that his father had been dead for a few years. His mother was still living in England, and one of his sisters was married, and living in Adelaide." - from the Adelaide Observer 21 Oct 1899 (


Distinguished soldier and townsman, Col. Frederick Henry John Howland, veteran of two wars and an ardent worker for exservicemen of three wars, died at the Mount Gambier Hospital on Thursday night. Aged 89, he had been in ill health over the past seven years. Born at Bayswater, England, in 1863, Col. Howland received his education partly in England, and partly in Trinidad, West Indies, where he spent some of his boyhood years. Inspired with a sense of duty towards his country, even in his younger days, he joined the Army in early manhood, and served for three years as a sapper in the 1st Middlesex Engineers. Arriving in South Australia in 1883 at the age of 20, he came to the Mount Gambier district, and two years later, joined the Mount Gambier Company of Volunteers, then commanded by Captain F. Davison. Enlisting as a private, his keen interest in military affairs earned rapid promotion, and in 1892 he was awarded a commission. As Captain Howland, he was later given command of "F" Company, South Australian Infantry Regiment, and at the outbreak of the Boer War, volunteered for service.


In 1899, he was given command of the first South Australian Contingent to leave for South Africa, and was present at the operations in Cape Colony around Colesburg, Rensburg and Nawpoort, also taking part in the operations through the Orange Free State. Later, he was present at the taking of Johannesburg and Pretoria by the British forces under Lord Roberts, and at the battles of Diamond Hill and Belfast. He was also engaged in active service in Eastern Transvaal and on the Portugese border, where he was promoted to the rank of Major. Returning to South Australia in December, 1900, Colonel Howland was appointed Commander of the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Regiment, and held that position for some years. In 1907, he was appointed Commander
of the South Australian Infantry Regiment. 


In 1910, he retired from the regiment and went on the unattached list, but at the outbreak of World War I, immediately volunteered for service. In 1915, he was given command of a troopship conveying reinforcements to Egypt, and on arrival there
spent some time in that country. On his return to Australia, he was given temporary command of the 76th Battalion at Gawler, and in January, 1917, was appointed recruiting officer at Mount Gambier, which position he held until the armistice. In December, 1918, he was noted for appointment as Colonel of the Australian Army Reserve. Colonel Howland was awarded the Long Service
Medal, the Colonial Officers' Decoration (V.D), the Queen's South African Medal with five clasps, the 1914-15 Star, British War
Medal, and Victory Medal. In private life, he was a partner in the firm of Brown and Howland, painters. This firm later became Brown Brothers. After World War I, he set up in business as a land and commission agent, where he carried on until his
retirement in 1945. 


As a townsman, he took an active interest in local affairs, and was a past president of the Mount Gambier Institute, where he first became a trustee in 1893. He was president of the Mt. Gambier Boys' Institute for many years, and, taking a keen interest in rifle shooting over a very long period, was President of the South Eastern Rifle Association for some time. He was also a Past Master of the Masonic Lodge, and a Past Grand Master of the Order of Oddfellows.


But perhaps his work for the local sub-branch of the R.S.L. will be one of the best memorials for Colonel Howland. One of the founders, and the original secretary of the sub-branch, he established an Australia wide record for service, with 28 years as secretary. During that time, he rendered invaluable assistance to men and relatives of servicemen of the three wars — the Boer War and World Wars I and II. The Mount Gambier Sub-Branch of the R.S.L. owes much of its present standing to Col. Howland's work. A family of two sons and two daughters survive. They are Messrs. Cyril (Adelaide) and Hilary (Camperdown) Muriel (Mrs. W. W. Fox, Mount Gambier) and Miss Clarice Howland, Mount Gambier. One son, Mr. A. S. Howland, predeceased him. 


The funeral will take place on Sunday, after a service at Christ Church at 1.45 p.m. Pall bearers will be Messrs. A. C. Johnston, J. R. Dowling, G. Adams, L. G. Burrell, H. L. Bartlett and L. J. Laslett. Mr. E. Messer, who succeeded Col. Howland as secretary of the R.S.L., will read the R.S.L. burial service at the graveside. Members of the R.S.L. will fall in on either side of the cemetery gates, and as the cortege passes through, will form fours and march to the graveside." - from the Mount Gambier Border Watch 20 Sep 1952 (