Neville Reginald Howse was born on 26 October 1863 in the Somerset village of Stogursey in the shadow of the Quantock Hills, thirteen kilometres from the shingled shores of Bridgewater Bay in the Bristol Channel. His father, Alfred Howse, a local medical doctor, had served as an army surgeon in the Crimean War. Neville followed in his father's footsteps, both as a country doctor and as an army surgeon. According to Charles Bean, eminent Australian war historian, Howse was fearless, clever and ambitious, and had the suave and polished manner of the great diplomatist. While most courteous, he was adamant in his demands to set high standards in the Australian medical services and opposed anything or anyone that got in his way. He was an astute judge of character and often assumed a cynical manner, but all those who knew him were aware that under it was the kindest of hearts. He was a magnetic influence and had a jovial manner and keen sense of humour. He pulled the army medcal services almost single-handedly out of the muddle they had fallen into in 1915 and turned them into a model for the rest of the allies to follow. Both in Egypt and later in France under his care, the Australian medical service at the war became second to none.
Journal: Manning Valley Historical Society Issue 34, p. 3-11, 27