John Allen Howe died at Tadworth, Surrey, on 11th December, 1952, at the age of 83.
He entered the Royal College of Science in 1897, and in 1900 obtained the B.Sc. degree, later in that year assisting in the geological department of the College. In April, 1901, he joined the Geological Survey, working ﬁrst on the ﬁeld staff in Cheshire and subsequently in the London area. Towards the end of 1902 he was appointed Curator of the Museum of Practical Geology in Jermyn Street, where he remained for 18 years. In 1902 also he was made a Fellow of the Geological Society, on whose Council he served some years later.
Mr. Howe was awarded the O.B.E. for his work with the Ministry of Munitions during the ﬁrst world war. In 1920 he was made Assistant Director of the Geological Survey of England and Wales, and held that post until his retirement in July, 1931.
He was the author of Geology of building stones, published in 1910, and of Handbook to the collection of kaolin, china-clay and china stone in the Museum of Practical Geology, published in 1914. Among his other published work one paper, ‘Conservation of drilling records’, was presented at the Third Empire Mining and Metallurgical Congress held in South Africa in 1930, and was also published in vol. 39 of the Transactions of the Institution, 1929-30.
Mr. Howe was elected a Member of the Institution in 1914. He served on the Council for two long periods, 1924-32 (including three sessions as Vice-President) and 1935-41. He was Vice-President again from 1941 to 1942 and held office as President during the two consecutive sessions 1942-43 and 1943-44. He continued to give his services to the Institution as ex-officio Member of Council, and did much valuable work as Chairman of the Committee for the Study of Conditions affecting Base-Metal Mining in Great Britain. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy in 1943.
Mr. Tom Eastwood writes: ‘Howe was no ﬁeld-man in the sense of one who quickly appreciates the signiﬁcance of surface features in relation to geological sequence and structure and so on, but he was a delightful companion in the ﬁeld whether accompanying a young geologist or an older man. He was always welcomed by the ﬁeld units, particularly those based on sub-ofﬁces far from London such as that in Whitehaven, and rain or shine, gentle topography or craggy hills, mud or scree, seemed to enjoy himself and remained cheerful throughout, though it must have been heavy going at times for one who was essentially of the office. He listened to our troubles and tales of woe, geological or otherwise, and though at times disappointingly fond of “sitting on the fence” when we wanted a decision, it did us good to have him with us — and what better can you say of any man than he is or was a “good companion”.
Vol. 62, Trans IMM 1952-53, pp.298-9