Skip to main content

Peter Howard

British journalist, playwright, rugby captain of England, and followed Buchman as leader of MRA.

Peter Dunsmore Howard was born in Maidenhead, England and educated at Mill Hill School. A graduate of the University of Oxford and journalist, Howard captained the England national rugby union team. He represented Oxford University RFC in The Varsity Match in 1929 and 1930 and made his England debut against Wales in January 1930 while still at Oxford. He played eight times for England, playing in all four matches in the Five Nations Championship in both 1930 and 1931. He captained England against Ireland at Twickenham in 1931, Ireland winning 6-5. In 1939 he won the silver medal in the four-man event at the FIBT World Championships in St. Moritz. After a flirtation with Mosley’s Blackshirts, he joined the Conservative party and became a political correspondent and investigative reporter for the Daily Express. In 1940 he worked with fellow Beaverbrook journalists Michael Foot and Frank Owen to write Guilty Men, a political polemic about appeasement and the politicians behind it.

Meanwhile, Howard had been assigned by Lord Beaverbrook to investigate the 1930s evangelical work of American religious leader Frank Buchman in England, particularly in Oxford. Howard met, interviewed, and fell in with Buchman, joining the inner circle of what became known as the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) movement. He was told by the Daily Express editor Leslie Plummer (later Sir Leslie Plummer who was standing in for Lord Beaverbrook while in the War Cabinet) that he had to write a critical article on the work of MRA / Oxford Group. He refused to do so and was sacked as a result. Lord Beaverbrook knew nothing of this until after the war and tried to get him to return to the paper but he declined.

In 1941 he published a book entitled ‘Innocent Men’, in which he took a different view of the politicians he had lambasted in Guilty Men a year earlier. During and after World War II, as MRA made the fight against what it considered to be the worldwide Communist threat on peace and religious freedom one of its highest priorities, Howard wrote seventeen plays on the themes of cooperation and dialogue in industrial relations, politics or personal life, most of them perceived as both extremely didactic and anti-communist. After Buchman's death in 1961, Howard took his place as the chosen successor to leadership of the worldwide MRA movement. In this work Howard himself travelled extensively. He died of viral pneumonia in Lima, Peru, in February 1965.

Themes

Birth year
1908
Death year
1965
Nationality
United Kingdom
Primary country of residence
United Kingdom