Frederick Ernest Howes was born in Headington, Oxfordshire on 29th February 1920. His parents were Frederick George Howes and Emily Amelia Howes (nee Merry) who had married in Headington the year before. The family had moved to Thame by 1922 where his sister Freda was born.
Two brothers Leslie (b 1923) and Joseph (b 1927) were also born in Thame, probably at the family home at 9 Horton Avenue, Thame. In 1939 Frederick was at home at Horton Avenue and described as a farm labourer.
Frederick joined the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry at the start of World War 2 and served with the 2nd Battalion initially on Home Defence duties. In early 1942 they became The 2nd (Airborne) Battalion and trained as glider borne infantry, as such they remained in England in readiness for the invasion of mainland Europe, taking part on D-Day to successfully take the Canal Bridge at Caen that became famous as Pegasus Bridge.
The Battalion was rushed to the Ardennes at Christmas 1944 to assist with the defence following the German advance know as “The Battle of the Bulge”, and took part in the Battle for the town of Bure losing many men, following which Frederick Howes was killed on 8th January 1945.
5389893 Private Frederick Ernest Howes, Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, is buried in Hotton War Cemetery, Luxembourg, Belgium. He is remembered in Thame on the war memorial and on St Mary’s church memorial board. He is also remembered on Moreton war memorial.
The Battalion’s involvement in the successful Coup de Main action at Pegasus Bridge, with “D” company under Major John Howard, proved one of the most remarkable British Airborne actions during the Second World War. The 2nd Battalion itself would continue to see Airborne action however, serving as part of the 6th Airborne deployment to the Ardennes and the Rhine Crossing in early spring 1945.
The Thame Remembers Cross was delivered to Hotton War Cemetery, Luxembourg, Belgium on 27th August 2015 by Ruth Pimm (Thame Museum)