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WW1 Memoir

Charles B. Howdill’s second son Norman Howdill (1898-1988) served in the Royal Field Artillery during World War I. After the war, he gained a First Class Honours degree in Engineering from the University of Leeds, where he was a King’s Scholar. He spent most of his career teaching in London technical colleges.

After he died, his widow donated Norman’s handwritten memoir of his early life to the Brotherton Library’s Special Collections at the University of Leeds. The memoir was discovered by Duncan McCargo in 2019 and was transcribed by Norman’s great-niece Nicola Howdill in 2020. The first few pages describe his schooldays in Leeds and memories of his father, while the rest of the memoir discusses Norman’s wartime experiences as a young artilleryman, primarily in France. Despite his rather self-deprecatory style of writing, it soon becomes obvious that Norman had considerable technical abilities and was highly valued by the officers heading his small gunnery unit.