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HOWATSON, George DSO (1877-1933)

HOWATSON, George DSO (1877-1933)

George Howatson was born at Ondit near Colac on 26 February 1877, the son of James Howatson and Sarah Jane nee Duthie, of Mount Derrimutt, Deer Park. He was educated at Geelong College, leaving the school in 1894, and later at The University of Sydney, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering.

He served in the Royal Engineers during the World War I, serving with the 185th Tunnelling Company, and was promoted a 2nd Lieutenant on 20 May 1916, and further awarded his captaincy, and was gazetted a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), on 10 December 1919.

The citation read:
'For conspicuous gallantry and resource in searching for and removing enemy traps and mines, especially on 12th and 13th of November, in removing delay action mines indicated by the enemy. he spent 36 hours in excavating a shaft and gallery approaching the large delay action mine in Douai Station, due to explode on 7th November 1918.'

He was twice Mentioned in Despatches. His younger brother, John Bell Howatson (1884-), served in the Australian Flying Corps (AFC).

The Sydney Morning Herald Newspaper in 1933 reported his death:
'The death occurred yesterday at Lister private hospital, Darlinghurst, of Mr George Howatson, of Hay, and St. Andrew's station. Born at Victoria, 55 years ago, he graduated in engineering at the University of Sydney, and later became engaged in mining in Western Australia. Subsequently he became interested in the Murruma property, and when this was sold he transferred his interest to St. Andrew's. He had resided at Hay for some years, and was appointed a valuer by the Lands Department. He was formerly interested in Australian football, and was a member of the University Club. He was secretary and treasurer of the War Memorial Hall at Hay, and of the Returned Soldiers' League, and was an active Freemason, He was also secretary of the Ivanhoe Presbyterian Church, Hay. He was twice mentioned in despatches at the war, and was awarded the DSO. He is survived by Mrs Howatson. The funeral will take place to-day at the Rookwood Crematorium.'
George Howatson DSO died in February 1933.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald 13 February 1933; Geelong Collegians at the Great War compiled by James Affleck. p 220 (citing Pegasus; The National Archives (Kew).
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