The Howell was designed during the Great War, but only as a prototype. At the time, it drew little attention. However, when World War II broke out, there was some official interest in the Howell rifle. Howell submitted the weapon to the Ordnance Board in 1940, and although it was not issued to British troops, it was used in small numbers by the Home Guard. It was recommended that it be used as an anti-aircraft weapon, although it would have been much more effective as a light support weapon.
The Howell was a Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III with an external gas tube fitted on the right side of the weapon and a pistol grip attached to the stock. The sights were offset, similarly to the Bren gun, although the original Lee-Enfield sights were not removed.