George Julien Howell was horn in the Sydney suburb of Enfield on 19 November 1893. he attended school at Croydon Park and Burwood, learnt the trade of bricklaying and became a builder in the Enfield area. Snowy' Mowers Joined the First Australian Imperial Force A.I.F.) on 3 June 1915 and went to Gallipoli on 1 November 1915. After the     withdrawal from Gallipoli, Howell went with his battalion to France where he was wounded in July 1916 in the battle of Pozieres. He was promoted to Lance‑Corporal on 10 December   and received further promotion to Corporal on 6 February 1917.

During his battalion's capture of the small village of Demicourt, Howell was awarded the Military Medal for his great courage and devotion to duty whilst leading a rifle bombing party.

The Hindenburg Line was attacked on 3 May 1917, but the Germans counter‑attacked on 6 May using flame‑throwers to force the 3rd Australian Brigade from its entrenched positions.

Howell reported that the battalion to his right was withdrawing and a small group was organised to try to repel the German attack.

During a desperate bombing fight, Howell, believing that the enemy would outflank his battalion, climbed to the top of the trench parapet and, using his bombs, forced the Germans back along the trench. When his bombs ran out, Howell pursued the retreating Germans with his bayonet in the face of heavy rifle fire.

Corporal Howell was severely wounded and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his outstanding bravery.

As a result of his action, the Allied battalions again advanced and regained the trenches which had been lost earlier.

Howell received his Victoria Cross and Military Medal from King George V at Buckingham Palace on 21 July 1917.

After lengthy hospital treatment, he returned to Australia in October 1917 and was discharged on 5 June 1918.

He later married and lived at the Sydney sea‑side suburb of Coogee. He joined the advertising staff of Smith's Newspapers and later the Bulletin Newspaper Company. In 1933 he was the New South Wales representative for the Brisbane Standard and the Queensland Worker.

During the Second World War, Howell served as a Staff‑Sergeant at Eastern Command Headquarters in the Sydney suburb of Paddington and, in August 1944, seeking greater excitement, he joined the United States Army Sea Transport Service and participated in the invasion of Leyte during the Philippines Campaign.

In December 1953, Howell moved from Sydney to the Perth suburb of Applecross. He died at the Repatriation General Hospital, Perth, on 24 December 1964.

A Soldiers' Club honouring his name was opened at Randwick in Sydney not far from his old home.

Bro. George Julian Howell was initiated in Lodge Coogee No. 322 on the register of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales on 2 December 1920. He was passed to the Second Degree on 27 January 1921 and raised a Master Mason on 23 March 1921. He called off on 2 October 1924 but re‑joined on 1 March 1928. He again called off on 3 October 1929 and he then affiliated with Lodge Literature No. 500, New South Wales on 7 November 1929 and served that lodge as Junior Warden in 1934‑35.


Information supplied from the book " Australian and New Zealand Freemasons and the Victoria Cros" by Grahame Cumminge PDGM UGL of NSW & ACT