Kenneth Salwey Howard and his twin sister Kathleen Philippa were born at Bushbury, Wolverhampton on 14 December 1879. Their father Edward was a coal, brick and tile merchant, the son of a vicar, and his wife Laura Harriet née Salwey came also from a clerical family. They had three daughters and four sons of whom Kenneth was the youngest. In 1881 the three brothers were with their maternal grandparents and a staff of four. Two nursemaids, a housemaid, and a cook looked after the parents, 3-year-old Elinor and the twins.
In 1891 Kenneth, aged 11, was a boarder at Wolverhampton Grammar School and in 1907 he matriculated and came to Durham University where he was a Non-Collegiate student, a member of St Cuthbert’s Society. He played cricket, not very successfully, and rowed in the Grey Cup competition. He also spoke in debates at the Union, though a report in the Durham University Journal (vol. XVIII no. 11) was less than complementary: in a debate in which Howard proposed that ‘The secular system is the only solution of the present education problem’ (defeated by 29 votes to 5) his speeches were described as “clever but never really grasped the subject” and containing “some more false quantities and epigrams”.
He continued to debate and held various offices in St Cuthbert’s and the Union. In the summer of 1908 he passed his first year Arts examinations in arithmetic and logic, though there is no attendance record for the following Michaelmas term. He did attend during the Epiphany, Easter and Michaelmas terms in 1909 studying arithmetic and political economy, but there is no record of him completing his B.A.
The 1911 census finds him in Armagh where he was an Assistant Master at the Royal School. He went on to be a Superintendent of the Irish Intermediate Education Board.
In August 1914 he was serving in camp at Kempton Park, Sunbury as a private in “A” Company of the 79th Public Schools Battalion, 16th Middlesex Regiment. With the onset of war he volunteered for the Army and on 19 August 1914 applied for a commission. He was attested on 5 September 1914 and continued to serve in the Public Schools Battalion. On 17 May 1915 he was commissioned into the 4th (Extra Reserve) Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment). He was gazetted a second lieutenant in 1916, then lieutenant In July 1917 and in the same month temporary captain “without pay and allowances while employed as Brigade Physical Training and bayonet training supervising officers, and remained seconded”.
On 3 September 1918 he joined the 1st Battalion Sherwood Foresters in the Oppy sector near Arras in France. His battalion war diary (WO 95/1721/4) reports that after scarcely a month as a lieutenant with “D” Company he was mortally wounded by a sniper during action on the Rouveroy-Fresnes line near Oppy during the Second Battle of Arras. “In a fierce fight the counter attack was repulsed but Captain Kenneth Salway Howard was killed.” He is buried in Roclincourt Military Cemetery.
Kenneth Howard’s brother Henry served with the Army Service Corps and survived, Arthur Edward his eldest brother served with the Canadian forces, and Cecil was ordained, served as a missionary in the Soloman Islands and then as a parish priest in New Zealand during the war.