Forename Charles Henry George, 20th Earl of Suffolk & Berkshire
Surname Howard
Rank Civilian
Regiment Civil Defence
Age 34
Death Killed while defusing a bomb
Place of Death UK > London
Date of Death 12/05/1940
Year of Entry 1921
Social D
School Notes -
Comments Charles Howard was instrumental in developing the science of bomb disposal. He was killed, along with his sergeant and his secretary, when the team attempted to defuse a bomb; they had already successfully defused over 40 bombs. He was awarded the George Cross, the highest civilian honour, because their work was so secret it could not be cited as a military achievement. For the same reason, he was not listed in the Roll of Honour in the copy of 'The Radleian' which contains his obituary.
The work of Charles Howard and his team was fictionalised by Michael Ondaatje in the Booker Prize winning novel 'The English patient', 1992. His wife was Mimi Crawford, a well-known movie star of the time
Commonwealth War Graves Commission Link
Prefect -
Military Decorations GC
Sport -
Album Number 22
Previous Regiment
Burial or Cemetery
Post School Experimental scientist; Married
Prep School
Prisoner of War
Radlein Obituary June 15 1941. On 12th May, 1940, by enemy action, in London. Charles Henry George, Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire. He was at Radley (Stevenson's, D) from 1921-1923, when he was known by his surname of Howard. At College, he showed signs of that versatility and quickness of mind which distinguished his later career. After leaving, he was in turn a Guards officer, a mercantile marine apprentice, an Australian farm hand and a scientist. Four years ago he graduated B.Sc. with First Class honours in Pharmacology. From the beginning of the war until the collapse of France, he was liaison officer for the Supply Ministry's scientific department in France. At the time of his death it is said that he was engaged on special duties of great importance and of a secret nature. It was only a few months before his death that he paid his last visit to Radley.
November 23 1941. THE GEORGE CROSS.
The following notice is taken from The Times:-
The King has been graciously pleased to award the George
Cross to:- CHARLES HENRY GEORGE HOWARD, EARL OF SUFFOLK and BERKSHIRE (deceased), Chief Field Research and Experimental Officer, Directorate of Scientific Research, Ministry of Supply.
For conspicuous bravery in connexion with bomb disposal.
Lord Suffolk, who was 35, was killed by a bomb which also caused the deaths of Miss Eileen Beryl Morden, his 28-year-old secretary, and Mr. Frederick William Hards, a van driver, both of whom are posthumously commended for work carried. out during the six months before their deaths. The three formed a team, of which Lord Suffolk was the leader, which was engaged in most secret experimental research work for the Directorate of Scientific Research, Ministry of Supply. This work was such that it cannot be divulged until after the war. It involved extreme hazard to which, those taking part were continually exposed. Lord Suffolk, with his scientific training, ripe experience of technical and general knowledge, was the ideal leader of such a team. Miss Morden recorded every detail of the experiments on the spot, while Mr. Hards, an accomplished craftsman and clever originator of improvised methods, gave the greatest assistance.
Lord Clanwilliam stated in the House of Lords on May 20 that Lord Suffolk had a great career before him in the scientific world. When the Germans went into Norway, the Allies used some particular chemical, the only supply of which was in Norway, and they got it to Paris. When the debacle took place in France, Lord Suffolk, on his own initiative and with great enterprise, seized this supply of chemical and got it to Bordeaux. He went on board a French battleship and demanded an escort and a machine-gun, and got them. He put them into a lorry and took this precious consignment of chemicals -the only supply in the world - and brought it to England, together with a large supply of diamonds." Lord Clanwilliam went on to say that since his return to England Lord Suffolk had spent all his time destroying unexploded bombs.
Service Number 0
Place of Birth