Rank, service number and regiment
Private 3/7272 Somerset Light Infantry, Commissioned 2nd Lieutenant, 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment 26 June 1917.
Precise date when Howard enlisted is not known. He sailed to Le Havre 23 May 1915.
Dudmoor House, Kingsbury Episcopi.
Date of death
25 November 1917
Age of death
Circumstances of death
Fatally injured leading his platoon during the Passchendaele stage of the 3rd Battle of Ypres, whilst attempting to capture the Passchendaele Ridge to the north east of Ypres.
Initially buried near to where he fell, but his remains were disturbed by subsequent fighting and the marsh-like consistency of the ground and were lost. He is therefore commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing at Passchendaele, on the Addenda Panel.
Date of birth & full name
1883. JOHN HOWARD COLE WILLY
Draper’s Assistant in the 1901 census. Grazier working for himself in the 1911 census.
Arthur White Willy and Elizabeth Emily Willy (nee Cole)
married 1880. The Willy family lived at Dudmoor House, K.E.
Spouse & children
Married Marie Stephanie Simpson in London, in the summer of 1917. It is unclear how Marie and Howard met. They had no children. Howard was killed in November 1917, so they were only married for a few months before he died at Passchendaele.
1915 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Howard’s father Arthur Willy died in 1916 in K.E. a year before Howard himself died. His mother died in 1920. His cousin Amy Willy came to live in Howard’s old home of Dudmoor House with her husband Albert Norris.
Amy Willy is shown in the photo of the Methodist Mens Bible Class (see photo under Wesley Stuckey). This photograph has been a useful source of images of several people we have been researching. It shows the Methodist Men’s Bible Class, so we are grateful to Kingsbury Episcopi Methodist Church for allowing us to copy it for the KTT archive.
A relative of Howard Willy, Frank Willy, has been in contact via Facebook with information about the Willy family locally. One branch of the family owned and ran a shop in Silver Street, at one point called Southways Stores. Documents, photographs and family anecdotes have in this way been donated. We are always grateful for such additions and pleased to be able to enlarge the Parish’s historical digital archive.
The photo below shows a card and cross left at the Tyne Cot Memorial, at the base of the panel where Howard’s name is inscribed. The visit to Tyne Cot was made in 2017 by members of the parish of Kingsbury Episcopi, to commemorate 100 years since Howard’s death at Passchendaele.