The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Major (later Major General Sir, KCB, KMG, KStJ) Neville Howse VC

Ancestor Details

Name of Ancestor: Neville Reginald Howse

Ancestor's date of birth: 26/10/1863

Ancestor's date of death: 19/9/1930

Cause of Death: Pancreatic cancer

Service and Life Before the Boer War: He was educated at Fullard House School, Taunton and studied medicine and surgery at the London Hospital, passing his Residential Surgical Certificate on 17 April 1884 and becoming a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS) in 1886. In 1887 he became a licentiate of the Royal College of Practitioners (LCRP). (All three of his brothers also became doctors.) Neville Howse emigrated to Australia in 1889 to become a country doctor at the Manning River Hospital in Taree, New South Wales, but returned to England in 1896 for professional development. He worked in what would now be called Casualty at London Hospital while studying to become a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), to which he was admitted in 1897. He returned to Taree again in 1898 but moved to Orange, New South Wales in 1899.

Service Number: Officer - no number.

Colony or State of enlistment: NSW, Place of Enlistment: Sydney.

Unit: New South Wales Army Medical Team (NSWMT) and Australian Medical Team (AMT).

Rank attained in Boer War: CAPT, Date Effective: 15/10/1900 (MAJ - 02/1902)

Highest Rank attained (if served after war): MAJGEN, Date Effective: 01/07/1921

Murray Page: 22, 25, 175

Contingent: Second New South Wales and First Australian

Ship: Moravian, Date of Sailing: 17/01/1900

Ship: Manchester Merchant, Date of Sailing: 17/02/1902

Memorial details: Buried at London's Kensal Green Cemetery. His portrait hangs in the Australian War Memorial Canberra's Hall of Valour, where his medals are on display.

Awards/Decorations/Commendations: Victoria Cross (VC), Order of the Bath (KCB), Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG), Order of St John of Jerusalem (KStJ), Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps 'Cape Colony', 'Johannesburg', 'Diamond Hill' and 'Wittebergen', King's South Africa Medal with clasps 'South Africa 1901' and 'South Africa 1902', 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal.

Personal Characteristics: A skilled medical practitioner and administrator; bravest of the brave.

Reasons to go and fight: ...

Details of service in war: February - December 1900 with the NSWMT in Cape Colony, Free State and Transvaal. Near Vredefort in the Orange Free State on 22 July 1900, for the rescue under fire of a young trumpeter, he was the first Australian awarded the Victoria Cross. March - May 1902 with the AMT on Natal border and west Transvaal in command of a bearer company.

Service and life after the Boer War: Neville Howse went on to serve with distinction in the First World War, in New Guinea, Gallipoli, Egypt, England and on the Western Front, gaining numerous recognitions for his service. In June 1915, he was awarded the Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) for his work in treating and evacuating the wounded following the landing at Gallipoli. On 1 January 1917, he was appointed Knight Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath (KCB). In June 1919, he was made Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) quickly followed by appointment to Knight of the Grace of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem. Following the war, he was appointed Director General of Army Medical Services, before entering politics as Member for Calare in November 1922. After losing his seat in a landslide election defeat in 1929, he returned to England for a holiday. In England, while hospitalised for gallstones, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Major General Sir Neville Howse died on 19 September 1930, aged 66 years. He was buried beside his father at Kensal Green Cemetery in London. CLICK HERE for a detailed biography.

Descendant Details

Name of Descendant: Jon Neville Howse, Yarralumla ACT
Relationship to Ancestor: Grandson


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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields