Last Salute to Arnold, 102, hero who braved hell

Last salute to ArnoldTOP Army officers will join relatives and old pals tomorrow in a last salute to Arnold Howe who volunteeredí as a boy to serve in the hell of the First World War and who has died at the age of 102.

The remarkable old soldier, who lived In Disley, died in hospital and will be buried at his village church, with the Union Jack draping his coffin and buglers playing a final farewell.

He had cheated about his age to join the Sherwood Foresters at 16 and didnít even tell his parents. That was 86 years ago as the adventurous kid signed up at Buxton and was shipped out to the battlefields of France and Belgium.

There he braved enemy fire in No Manís Land, saw his comrades gunned down, and survived a deadly mustard gas attack which for a time left him blind.

In the front-line trenches at Ypres he served as a messenger, shuttling between the muddy dugouts.

Blinded by the gas, he was sent back to Britain to a military hospital, then asked to be returned to his comrades at war.

The war ended and the young Birch Vale man returned to his then home in Whaley Bridge.

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from Manchester Evening News  Thursday 19 October 2000

Arnold aged 16
Arnold aged 16

He was one of few survivors among the old soldiers who served throughout the Great War and even served in the Home Guard at Whaley Bridge during the Second World War. Two years ago he was honoured by France in a ceremony at the Imperial War Museum.

The man who lived during three centuries was a popular character in Disley, where he lived with his daughter, Vera.

He also worked for charities - and was a sidesman at his local St Maryís church.

He was a member of the Royal British Legion for 78 years and was invited to garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Mr Howe said: "We must never forget the lads who gave their lives.

"There were terrible moments, but the war had to be won."

Daughter Vera Howe-Byatte said: "Dad was a well-respected man and we were all very proud of him."

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