Private 7321 Walter Grant Uttin(g) 1st Norfolk Regiment
Born Oct.16th 1878- died 1957
In searching for the soldiers of the Howman family, I came across a press clipping in the Dereham and Fakenham Times from May 1919, reporting the death of an old Ryburgh soldier, Joseph Howman. He was the father of Joseph Chad Howman who had died in October 1916:
Joseph Howman in 1901
The article quite clearly states that his sons all served in the Army during WW1 and yet Joseph Chad Howman the youngest son is the only man of that name to appear on the Roll of Honour. In searching the 1891 Census we find that the Howman Household consists of Joseph Howman and Eliza, Walter, William, Lillian, and Joseph. Further investigation of the records shows that both Walter and William's births were registered as Uttins, born before Joseph married Eliza in the second quarter of 1881. Everything now makes sense of the press clipping except that William Uttin/g/Howman does not appear on the Roll of Honour!
Walter Grant Uttin was entered erroneously as Walter Grounds by George Tatham in the Baptism Register, but he is our man baptised on 8th January 1879.
Army life must have felt like the family business and so it was perhaps unsurprising that on January 9th 1895 aged apparently 18, Walter Grant Uttin signed his attestation papers with the Bedfordshire Regiment for 8 years with the Colours and 4 years with the reserve. In fact he spent his first two years on Home Service and the following ten years in India before returning home. During this time he was awarded his Mounted Infantry Certificate his Cold Shoeing Certificate and qualified for promotion to Corporal under Kings Regulations. He transferred to the Reserve until 1912 during which time he was seasonally employed at the Maltings as a labourer. At the close of the season in April 1912 , he re-enlisted, this time with the Norfolk Regiment on 4th. May. He was promoted to Sergeant in 1913 and entered the war in France on December 27th 1914. He was wounded in the head in March 1915 and was treated back home in England. The Fakenham & Dereham Times reported this incident in April 1915 and the relevant paragraph is reproduced here:
When recovered, he was again posted to France in March 1917 only to be wounded in the left arm the following month. He remained in France however until December 1918. On his return home, he was transferred to the Labour Corps and the "112 Prisoners of War Company", as his record says, "compulsorily for Benefit of Service at Infantry rates of pay". Following his discharge from the Army he was granted "18 pence a day for life Service Pension from May 3rd 1920 in addition to Disability Award"
His service record confirms all the above biographical details and also reveals that on 20th January 1912 he married the mother of Mary Utting Archer his eldest child born in 1907. His wife was Leah Archer the eldest child of Mary Howman who was William Ainger Howman's eldest sister or step sister! All in all the Howman clan made a significant family sacrifice in the Great War
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