Cpl George Julian “Snowy” Howell

Born: 19/11/1893

Died: 23/12/1964

Unit: 1st Battalion of 2nd Australian Division

Location of VC action: Bullecourt, France

Date of VC action: 06/05/1917 – During the attack on the Hindenburg Line

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery. Seeing a party of the enemy were likely to outflank his Battalion, Cpl. Howell, on his own initiative, single-handed and exposed to heavy bomb and rifle fire, climbed on to the top of the parapet and proceeded to bomb the enemy, pressing them back along the trench. Having exhausted his stock of bombs, he continued to attack the enemy with his bayonet. He was then severely wounded. The prompt action and gallant conduct of this N.C.O. in the face of superior numbers was witnessed by the whole Battalion and greatly inspired them in the subsequent successful counterattack.

Cpl Howell’s wounds were serious enough to see him repatriated to Australia to recuperate in October 1917. He was also promoted to Sergeant. Having not adequately recovered from his wounds, he was discharged from the Australian Imperial Force on 5 June 1918 on medical grounds. He worked at a newspaper until the outbreak of the Second World War when he reenlisted. George died in 1964 and was granted a funeral with full military honours. His Victoria Cross and other medals are kept in the Australian War Memorial.

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