Bobby Howe was a Dumbarton-born player, indeed, Scotland international, who did not play for his home-town club, despite living there until at least the age of eighteen. In part that might be accounted for by him being a late developer. Until the age of twenty-four he played junior football, and in and around Glasgow, to where and beyond he might well have moved for work outside the game as an engineer. Certainly, whilst in 1933 he married out of Dumbarton, indeed his childhood home, it was in Falkirk and to a girl from that town, Elizabeth Lapsley. Nor, despite being a relatively recent player and international, does there seem to be a single picture of him on public record. He and Elizabeth were to have three sons, Thomas, named for Bobby's father, a Brass-finisher, and Robert and Douglas, both born in Cathcart in Glasgow. Perhaps they or their descendent was rectify that?
So to what we know. Bobby Howe was born in 1903, the eldest of four children, in the demolished Levenhaugh tenements in Dennystown across the old Dumbarton bridge. His father was from Klimaronock, his mother from Dumbarton itself. And it was on Levenhaugh St. that he was raised. In terms of football, a winger, he began at Shotts United and went on to Peterhill. In fact he would later in life its match-secretary and it was from there he was in 1927 pick up by Hamilton Accies. It proved to be a fruitful move. He stayed there five seasons, was top-scorer, and it was whilst there too he was picked for Scotland's 1929 Continental Tour, winning two caps against Norway and The Netherlands. Incidentally the Norway game, regarded as unofficial by them, was the first international ever played by Scotland outside Britain. The Scots won 3-7, despite going one down in four minutes.
However, after losing his place at Hamilton in 1932 he joined Hearts, mainly playing as a reserve and in early 1934 the age of thirty made the move to Third Lanark as it tried to stave off First Division relegation. It failed but he first helped to bounce it right back and then in 1936 was in the team that narrowly lost the Cup Final to Rangers. For his efforts he was dropped from the right-wing and in 1936-37 too dropped a division to Queen of the South, then to St. Johnstone in 1937-38 and Dundee United in 1938-39, when, he aged thirty-six, the war intervened.
However, on resumption and his playing days over he clearly still had ambitions to stay in the game, after the war applying for managerial positions without success, whilst working back in engineering until retirement. He was living in the southern suburbs of Glasgow and that is where in 1979 he passed away at the age of seventy-five. Elizabeth would outlive him by more than two decades dying still in Glasgow in 1983.
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