Johnny was among the many men wounded in the first two weeks of the Somme, as reported in the Shipley Times & Express on 11 August 1916:Howard, Pte J, 16 Butt Lane, Idle, was badly wounded with shrapnel in the chest and leg on July 26th and is now in Liverpool Hospital. It is about eighteen months since he joined the colours but he had only been in France about a fortnight when he got wounded. He is in the machine gun section and at the time he received his wounds he was just preparing to open fire on the enemy. A little earlier when they were proceeding towards the trenches, his officer was placed hors de combat and Pte Howard’s hat was blown off with the same shell. Although he comes of a fighting family Pte Howard is not ‘soldier brained’ and he only joined the army through a sense of duty to his country. His father, grandfather and uncles were all either soldiers or sailors. Previous to donning khaki, Pte Howard was a member of the Idle and Thackley Brass Band. He has been visited at Liverpool by his wife who found him in the best of spirits.But a month later, the newspaper reported:Impressive scenes were witnessed
yesterday afternoon at the funeral of the late Pte J E T Howard, of Idle, who was familiarly known as Pte Johnny Howard.The deceased passed away in the military hospital at Liverpool where he had been treated since being severely wounded in July.He was in the machine gun section and when wounded was just preparing to open fire upon the enemy.For nearly eleven years he was a member of the Idle and Thackley Brass Band, in the interests of which he laboured whole-heartedly both as an official and as an instrumentalist.He was a keen lover of music and almost his last words to those nearest and dearest to him were that his brothers in harmony should play over his last resting place his favourite tune Beautiful Zion.He was an employee at the Canal Mills, Apperley Bridge, the works of J Baxter and Son and was highly esteemed by his employers and fellow workers.“Never in my life have I seen so many people brought into the streets by a funeral,” was the observation of an aged native.He might with truth have added that it was not mere curiosity that brought the people out but it was probably a visible and outward sign of the sympathy which
draws those in trouble together, for amongst the crowd were assuredly many who either have loved ones fighting or who have lost them in the battle for the right.In Butt Lane, the neighbourhood of the deceased’s home, the crowd was densely packed and the Green was also well-peopled by those wishful of paying this, their last tribute to the memory of a fallen hero, one who was personally known to many of them and of whom all who knew him spoke in terms of the greatest respect.The coffin was placed upon a gun-carriage and covered with the Union Jack and numerous wreaths, and the improvised hearse was drawn by two black horses, mounted by men in khaki and
preceded by a none commissioned officer, Cpl Monstel, on horseback.The Idle Brass Band headed the mournful procession and on route to the church played in solemn tones the Dead March from Saul, the muffled beat of the drums adding an eerie effect to the music.At the church gates, where the vicar, the Rev W T Forster, and Captain Jackson, commanding the Local Corps of the Salvation Army, awaited the funeral procession, the coffin was reverently lifted from the gun carriage and carried shoulder high by six members of the Army Service Corps from Bradford Moor Barracks.He was 34 years of age and leaves a widow and a son and daughter.