Thomas Howard was born in 1684 the son of George Howard of Great Bookham. He joined up in 1703 as an ensign and served in the army of the Duke of Marlborough. He was a captain in Wade's Regiment (33rd Foot) at the battle of Almanza, and taken prisoner. He was a POW in France for 2 years but when he returned in 1708 he gained the lieutenant-colonelcy of the 24th Foot. He was captured again at the battle of Brihuega in 1710 but the following year he was granted brevet of Colonel. He was dismissed for his political (Whig) opinions under the Stuart reign of Queen Anne who favoured the Tories, but he was restored under George I in 1714. In 1717 he bought the Colonelcy of the 24th Foot which post he held for 20 years until 1737. His term of office as colonel of the 3rd Foot was from 1737 to 1749 which ran parallel to that of his kinsman Sir Charles Howard, who was Colonel of the 19th Foot from 1738 to 1748. As regiments were called by their Colonel's names at that time they were known as the Buff Howards and the Green Howards.
Thomas Howard was promoted to major-general in 1739 and was ADC to King George II for several years. He served in Lord Stair's Pragmatic Army in Flanders in 1742. He was promoted to lieutenant-General on 1st Feb 1743 and was at the battle of Dettingen. He retired from the army in 1749 handing over the Colonelcy to his son George Howard, and held the post of Governor of Berwick until his death on 31st March 1753. He was married to Mary Moreton the daughter of the Bishop of Meath and they had 7 children.
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