Norman was the youngest of the four children of George and Bessie Howarth. In 1901, when the census was taken, the family was living at 11 Guy Lane, Romiley. George was a retired corn miller. The four children were Maggie (then 18), May (15), George (12) and Norman (7). The family worshipped at the nearby Hatherlow Chapel but nothing else is known about them.
The Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour has two references to a man called N D Howarth. Whilst it is not possible to be positive that these are Norman, they certainly relate to the background of many of the middle class young men who were pre-War members of the 6th (Territorial) Battalion of the Manchesters or who joined up within days of War being declared in August 1914. The first reference is amongst the names of ex-pupils of Manchester Grammar School who died during the War. The second reference is to a man serving with the Battalion who was an employee of Woodhouse Hambly & Co, 105 Princess Street, Manchester.
Norman's service number was issued around the time of the outbreak of War but it has not been possible to establish if he had joined up some time before the War or was one the new recruits. In any event, by the middle of September, he was aboard a ship bound for Egypt where he spent the next seven months. An account of this time is here. Unlike many of his comrades, Norman had survived a major attack on 4 June which was later designated as the Third Battle of Krithia.
The first few days of July were spent in the front line but, on the 5th, the Battalion was relieved back to the support line, returning to the front line on the 8th. The Battalion's War Diary records that it was the "usual routine of the firing line" over the coming days. On the 11th, the Turks threw about 60 grenades at the Manchesters' positions but no damage was done. Grenades were thrown back in retaliation as well as making arrangements for the Turkish trenches to be shelled with mortar fire. Later in the day, the men were relieved back to dug-outs in the support line.
Norman and his comrades spent the 12th in the dug-outs in a "state of readiness". Throughout the day, there was heavy shelling by the enemy as it softened up the British positions held by other battalions nearby. The Turks then made two infantry attacks on these neighbouring sectors. Sometime during the day, Norman was killed, no doubt by shrapnel from an exploding shell. Redoubt Cemetery contains over 2000 burials. Of these, nearly 1400 are unidentified. Norman is believed to be amongst these men and his name is one of 393 commemorated on a special Memorial in the Cemetery to those known or believed to be buried there. After the evacuation from the peninsula at the end of 1915, many grave markers were lost in the remaining years of the War and it is now not possible to know who was buried where.