Born in Moreton in 1885, Alfred Howes was the youngest of ten children to Alfred and Elizabeth Howes (nee Wyatt).
Leaving life as an agricultural farm labourer behind him, Alfred joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, 1st Battalion, in 1907 (Service Number 8434), and travelled to India, where the battalion had been based since 1903.
Serving with H Company, he was posted with the battalion to Mesopotamia in November 1914, as part of the 17th (Ahmednagar) Brigade, 6th (Poona) Division. After a number of successful engagements against the Ottoman Turks, the division was eventually defeated in a failed attempt to capture Baghdad, being forced to retreat to Kut-al-Amara in December 1915.
Under siege for several months without any relief, the division, including 400 men of the OBLI, surrendered to the Turks at the end of April 1916. Only 71 men of the battalion, survived captivity, Pte A W J Howes dying at Shumran, on or about 5th May 1916.
8434 Private Alfred John Walter Howes, Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq. He is remembered in Thame on both Thame and Moreton war memorials and also on St Mary’s church and All Saints’ Church memorial boards.