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Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Town Hall, 333 Bay Street, Port Melbourne

Howlett, Alexander Harold James (Lieutenant) aka Chuck

Place of Birth: Melbourne, VIC

Age: 25 years 8 months

Enlistment Details: Tuesday, 18 August 1914 – Melbourne, VIC

Service Number: Lieutenant            view online service record

274 Bridport Street
Albert Park, VIC

Next of Kin:
Charles William Howlett (father)
Primose Street
Essendon, VIC

Embarkation Details:
Date: Wednesday, 21 October 1914
Ship: HMAT Orvieto A3
Port: Melbourne, VIC
Unit: 2nd Field Company Engineers

Discharged: Sunday, 26 May 1918

On the embarkation rolls for October 1914, both Alex and his father, Charles are listed at 27 Bridport Street, Albert Park. However his enlistment papers and a subsequent embarkation roll (Dec 1916) list Alex’s address as 274 Bridport Street.

Alex Howlett, who was also known as ‘Bert’, ‘Chuck’ or ‘Chook’ was a teacher at Graham Street State School and his father, Charles W Howlett, was manager at the South Melbourne Gas Works.

In 1911, Howlett, at the age of 20 was one of two instructors teaching lifesaving with the Port Melbourne Swimming Club. His co-instructor was Frank Beaurepaire. With Howlett as captain the swimming club won the Treadwell Shield for lifesaving methods in 1913 and 1914. His talents were practical as well as theoretical as he saved a mans life at Sorrento Back Beach in the summer of 1913-14.

In 1913 he debuted for the Port Melbourne Football Club (PMFC) playing a total of 8 games that season and then establishing himself in the side the following season playing in 16 of a possible 18 matches. Port’s last match in 1914 was played on 14 August. Within three weeks, war had been declared and Howlett had enlisted.

Towards the end of the war, Howlett accepted a commission in the Indian Army but did manage to play a further two games for Port in 1922 when he was back in Australia on furlough bringing his total number of matches played to 26.

extracted from A Taste of Port by Terry Keenan

Alex Howlett in a photo of the 1922 PMFC team at Northcote. (Courtesy of Delva Crawford, daughter of former player Bill Rees.) From ‘A Taste of Port’ by Terry Keenan, p 87.

A H Howlett was among a group of members of Port Melbourne Swimming Club members who volunteered for the war and were entertained at Excelsior Hall on Friday 4 September 1914.

1914 ‘OFF TO THE WAR.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 12 September, p. 4, viewed 6 March, 2015,

Discharged in England and took up a commission in the Indian Army.

A H J Howlett was known as Chuck and his brother Alan won the championship and other swimming races at the Graham Street Primary School carnival in 1915.

1915 ‘ELECTRIC SPARKS.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 3 April, p. 3, viewed 10 March, 2015,

1915 ‘ANNUAL SWIMMING RACES.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 3 April, p. 4, viewed 10 March, 2015,

On 21 May 1915, news reached his father, Charles, that Alex had been wounded at the Dardanelles. The article in the Standard newspaper lists Alex’s military history since the age of 9 and also mentions that he was a teacher at Graham Street and played football for Port.

1915 ‘ITEMS OF NEWS.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 22 May, p. 2, viewed 30 April, 2015,

1915 ‘PORT’S VALIANT SOLDIERS.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 12 June, p. 2, viewed 29 May, 2015,

1915 ‘ITEMS OF NEWS.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 24 July, p. 2, viewed 1 July, 2015,

1916 ‘SERGEANT HOWLETT.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 8 January, p. 2, viewed 30 December, 2015,

1916 ‘Sergeant Howlett Returns.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 5 February, p. 2, viewed 29 January, 2016,

1916 ‘PORT SWIMMING CLUBS.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 12 February, p. 2, viewed 29 January, 2016,

A successful local footballer, Alex Howlett played in a game of Australian Rules while stationed in Egypt.

1916 ‘SCHOOL SPHERE.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 26 February, p. 4, viewed 31 January, 2016,

J H Kruger, A H Howlett, A Banton and F Banton addressed the pupils of Graham Street School at the Anzac Day celebrations held at the school on Thursday 20 April 1916.

1916 ‘SCHOOL WORLD.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 29 April, p. 2. , viewed 06 Apr 2016,

On 12 January 1920, Alex married Lucy Kay of Southport, Lancashire, England at the Chanel Street Congregational Church in Southport. The article mentions he was recommended for an ‘Order of the Nile’ for services in Egypt.

A H Howlett was listed on the Swimming Club Roll of Honour, 25 November 1916.

1916 ‘ROLL OF HONOR.’, Port Melbourne Standard (Vic. : 1914 – 1920), 25 November, p. 2. , viewed 04 Nov 2016,

1920 ‘Family Notices’, Table Talk (Melbourne, Vic. : 1885 – 1939), 29 April, p. 9. , viewed 14 Jun 2016,

The Record newspaper in 1922 notes that ‘Chook’ Howlett was showing excellent form with PMFC while on furlough from the Indian Army.

1922 ‘PORT MELBOURNE NOTES.’, Record (Emerald Hill, Vic. : 1881 – 1954), 29 April, p. 2. , viewed 14 Jun 2016,


  • Brian Membrey
    Posted July 21, 2016 12.47 pm 0Likes

    Education Department records have him teaching as School 1417 at Drouin West prior to enlisting

    • Garrie Hutchinson
      Posted November 22, 2016 12.51 pm 0Likes

      Alex Howlett actually sailed on then Orvieto with 2 Field Company Engineers 21 October 1914, returned to Australia in 1916 GSW groin, returned to duty in 1917 8th Reinforcements 2 Pioneers, before enlisting in Indian Army – he seems to have qualified as a pilot in Feb 1918 -and served in Egypt, Syria and India until 1920 … see his record.

  • David Thompson
    Posted November 22, 2016 2.06 pm 0Likes

    Thanks Garrie,

    You are correct! Alex Howlett is listed in the Emabarkation Rolls twice, as you say first for 21 Oct 1914 but also on 16 Dec 1916 as part of the 2nd Pioneer Battalion – 8th Reinforcements on board the HMAT Medic A7 presumably returning to the front after recovering form his gun shot wound.

    I have altered his page to reflect his original embarkation details in Oct 1914.

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