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George P. Howe

Medical Reserve Corps

First Lieutenant, U.S. Army

Entered the Service from:

Massachusetts

Died:

9/28/1917

Grave Location:

Plot C, Row 4, Grave 1

1st Lt. George P. Howe served with the Medical Officers’ Reserve Corps, British Expeditionary Forces (Attached) 37th Division in France. Howe was born in Lawrence, Mass., on December 11, 1878. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1904. He worked at the Boston City Hospital for two years, and then traveled to northern Alaska to work as a surgeon with an expeditionary group between Point Barrow and the Canadian border. 

Howe returned to Massachusetts in 1907 and eventually returned to Harvard to study anthropology and archaeology. After graduating, he conducted ethnographic research in Yucatan for a year. He then married Marion Dudley on September 20, 1911. He returned to work as a doctor in Boston during the initial years of World War I.

Howe volunteered for the Medical Officers Reserve Corps in 1917. He was commissioned as a lieutenant and assigned to a British engineer battalion. In September he wrote home to his class secretary that, “We are just down from a week’s service in the trenches and have just had nice hot baths and cleaned up. I like service with the English and expect to stay with them to the end of the war.”

Howe was killed on September 28, 1917 at 9:00 a.m. near Tower Hamlets, Belgium, while assigned to the 10th Royal Fusilier Battalion of the British Expeditionary Forces. His orderly wrote a letter to his wife describing his death: “he was slightly wounded by a Whizz-bang shell. I patched him up and asked him to take cover in a trench nearby. I regret to say that he did not get into the trench, but insisted upon sitting on the parapet. Shortly afterwards a 5’ 9” shell landed on top of the trench, killing the doctor instantly and several others nearby.” He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the citation of which reads, “Although wounded in the head on the morning of September 28 during the operation on the Tower Hamlets Spur, Lieutenant Howe displayed conspicuous courage and devotion in attending to wounded under very heavy and continuous shell fire, refusing to leave and continuing at his aid post until killed by a shell.” He was buried at God’s Own Farm on the Vierstraat Cross Roads in Belgium before being reinterred at the Flanders Field American Cemetery following the end of the war.

Awards: Distinguished Service Cross

Distinguished Service Cross
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George P. Howe is buried in Flanders Field American Cemetery Plot C, Row 4, Grave 1.