Second Lieutenant Howard Terry, Royal Air Force, died in Birmingham of pneumonia on 28th November 1918 after suffering from influenza. Born in Redditch on 23rd September 1882, he was the eighth of the eleven children of parents, Herbert (a fishing tackle manufacturer) and Mary Ann (née Young) who had married in 1865.
Howard attended Redditch School and was recorded on the 1901 census as an 18-year-old engineering apprentice, living in his parents’ house in Redditch. He is listed as single but it seems that he actually married a few months previously, as a marriage is recorded July-September 1900 between him and Milly Matilda Monks.
By the time of the 1911 census, he and his wife are listed as living in Balsall Heath with their two children – Phyllis Lillian (1904-1995) and Kenneth Howard (1910-1971).
The local connection is that he was elected to membership of Copt Heath Golf Club, Solihull in October 1910. He was a Freemason and, in 1913, he was elected to Fletcher Lodge, Birmingham.
On the outbreak of war, Howard Terry gave up his business in Birmingham and volunteered for the Royal Naval Air Service, enlisting on 24th September 1914. As an air mechanic with the Armoured Car Section, he served under Commander Charles Rumney Sampson and saw active service in France, Belgium (Ypres), the Dardanelles, Egypt and Salonika. He was promoted to Petty Officer and received the Mons ribbon.
At some point, he received a bullet wound to his left hand and was invalided home. He was discharged from the RNAS in June 1917 in order to train for a Commission with the Army. He was commissioned Second Lieutenant Equipment Officer, 3rd Class, ground duties only, and was transferred to the Royal Air Force on its formation on 1st April 1918.
Following his commission, he was employed on the staff of the Department of Aeronautical Affairs, 78 Bristol Road, Birmingham. He contracted influenza, followed by pneumonia, and was buried with military honours at Perry Barr Crematorium on 4th December 1918. Despite his membership of Copt Heath Golf Club, his name does not appear on the club’s Roll of Honour.
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Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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