Lt Col Charles Hamilton Sutton Howkins OBE TD was born in 1907 and went to Harrow before becoming a Civil Engineer. He was the son of Francis Edward Howkins and Aimee Manners Sutton. He married Norah Katherine Shirley on 1931. They had four children: Elsa Peridot George Charles Shirley Katherine Ann Sutton. and Jane Elizabeth. The family lived at Grenemore, Chstleton, Moreton-in-Marsh.
He commanded B Company of the Regiment in the build up to the Second World War. Alec Jay recalls that one of Howkins’ responsibilities was the training of young subalterns in the Regiment. In Jay’s words the young officers were sent to Lymington Road “so Charles Howkins could make or break them”.1 Howkins was much respected by all, and also lectured on map reading.
On the outbreak of was he went to France with the 6th Bttn the King’s Own Royal Regiment from April to May 1940 when he was evacuated from Dunkirk.
He was back in England until August 1943 when Howkins was sent to the Middle East, attending the Political Warfare Executive (PWE) Military Training School at Mena (Egypt), and then served in Egypt and Cyprus with 814 Political Warfare Forward Unit.
At the beginning of 1944 several Political Warfare field units were created including the 814th and 815th Political Warfare Forward Units. The 814th spent most of 1944 training at the PWE depot and school outside Cairo, located on the Mena road, half a mile from the pyramids.
Howkins commanded 814 and took them to Greece from October 1944 to August 1945 as Officer Commanding the Anglo-Greek Information Services (AIS / AGIS) with headquarters at Salonica (Thessaloniki). He was made OBE in 1945.
He was initiated into Mount Moriah lodge No 34, before joining this Lodge in 1946. He became Worshipful Master twice, first in 1950 and again in 1955. He served as Treasurer for a number of years before being made Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1966.
He died in September 1971.
- Facing Fearful Odds: My Father’s Story of Captivity, Escape & Resistance By John Jay