Howe Don Image 1 Bolton Wanderers 1937

Howe Don Image 1 Bolton Wanderers 1937


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Outwood, Wakefield born wing half Don Howe played for Whitehall Printeries in 1933 before joining Bolton Wanderers in November 1934, making his Football League debut at Liverpool in October 1936. Over the next few years he played in every position for Bolton Wanderers except centre-forward. In the 1938-39 season Howe scored nine goals, but his career was interrupted by the Second World War.

At the outset of World War Two, of the 35 players on the staff of Bolton Wanderers, 32 joined the armed services. A total of 17 players, including; Ernie Forrest, Albert Geldard, Harry Goslin, Stan Hanson, Don Howe, Jack Hurst, Billy Ithell, Jackie Roberts, Tommy Sinclair, Raymond Westwood, and Danny Winter, joined the 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment.

Following the German invasion of France on 10 May 1940, the 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment was sent to help the French but came under attack from the advancing Panzer divisions, and Don Howe was lucky to make it back to the French port of Dunkirk where he was rescued by a British ship.

The 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment spent the rest of 1940 and the whole of 1941 at various army camps around Britain, they spent their time building coastal defence constructions, manning anti-aircraft batteries and patrolling potential enemy landing sites all along the East Anglia coastline, variously stationed at Beccles, Nacton, and Holt. This enabled them to play the occasional match for Bolton Wanderers in the North-East League. The team that year included; Jack Atkinson, Ernie Forrest, Stan Hanson, Don Howe, Harry Hubbick, George Hunt, Jack Hurst, Billy Ithell, Danny Winter, Albert Geldard, Jackie Roberts, Walter Sidebottom, Tommy Sinclair, and Raymond Westwood.

After spending time in Baghdad, the 53rd (Bolton) Field Regiment moved to Kirkuk on 8 January 1943. They were eventually relocated to Kifri which was to become their main base for the next five months. While there Ernie Forrest, Harry Goslin, Stan Hanson, and Don Howe, played for the British Army against the Polish Army in Baghdad. Howe scored one of the goals in the 4-2 victory. At the end of November 1943, Howe was wounded and evacuated to a dressing station.

After the War Howe returned to Bolton Wanderers and played the majority of his matches at wing half, he also replaced Harry Goslin, who had been killed in action, as captain of Bolton Wanderers. He played in the 1946 FA Cup semi final when they lost 2-0 to Charlton Athletic at Villa Park and was a regular performer for 5 years, being ever-present in the 1950-51 season.

Howe retired from football at the end of the 1951-52 season after 37 goals in 289 appearances for Bolton, all of which were in the First Division. He briefly worked as a coach for Bolton before pursuing his career outside of football.

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