Hewitt, Ernest Henry (Ernest)
Mentioned in Despatches
4th Battalion (Territorial), King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment
Killed in action on 15 June 1915 (aged 29)
No known grave
Le Touret Memorial, France (Panel 5)
Bangor and District War Memorial
Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque
Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) War Memorial
Queen’s University Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance
North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque (includes those members of the Club who played Rugby Football)
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) War Memorial Plaque
Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) Family Memorial Plaque
Bangor Parish Church Honorary Society of Bell Ringers Roll of Honour
Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI)
Annals of Bangor Grammar School
Church Bell Ringers’ Memorial Book 1914 – 1918 (Book 2)
Family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery
Ernest Henry Hewitt was born on 5 November 1885 at 60 South Parade, Belfast and he was a son of James Henry Hewitt (born 21 June 1850) and Jeannie Denby Hewitt (nee Marshall, born 26 August 1854) who were married on 25 June 1879 in St John’s Church of Ireland Church Laganbank, Belfast.
The Hewitt family lived in Belfast, in Eblana Street, South Parade and Rosetta Avenue. They also lived in Bangor, at Altamont, 27 Downshire Road and at 97 Mornington Park.
James Hewitt was the manager of the Workshops for the Industrious Blind, Royal Avenue, Belfast and he and Jeannie had five children:
James Marshall (born 8 September 1880 at 36 Cooke Street, Belfast; died 18 August 1967)
Edith Mary (born 3 June 1882 at 5 Eblana Street, Belfast; died 23 November 1966)
Ernest Henry (born 5 November 1885 at 60 South Parade, Belfast)
Holt Montgomery (born 11 June 1887 at 60 South Parade, Belfast)
William Arthur (born 23 January 1893 in Princess Gardens, Bangor)
Their father, James Henry Hewitt, died on 4 January 1928 (aged 77) and their mother, Jeannie Denby Hewitt, died on 5 June 1935 (aged 81).
James and Jeannie’s only surviving son, James Marshall Hewitt, became a clergyman in the Church of England and served as Vicar of St Mark’s in Haydock, Lancashire. James Marshall Hewitt and Alice Evadne Louise (Evadne) Snell were married in 1919 in Birkenhead. Their son, Ernest Basil Snell (Basil) Hewitt, served during the Second World War as a Lieutenant (No. 180163) with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Basil Hewitt was awarded the Military Cross in August 1943 for gallantry in the Sicilian campaign and was subsequently killed in action on 3 November 1943.
Ernest was the first of the three Hewitt brothers to die during the First World War.
Ernest Henry Hewitt was educated at Bangor Grammar School, Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI), St Jude’s School Belfast and Queen’s University Belfast where he was a member of the Officers’ Training Corps.
Ernest Henry Hewitt was also vice-captain of the North of Ireland [Rugby] Football Club and he played for the 1908/1909 team that won the Ulster Senior League and for the 1909/1910 team that won the Charity Cup. He was a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force and prior to the outbreak of the Great War he worked as secretary for an insurance company.
Ernest Hewitt offered his services to the War Office the day after war was declared. He was commissioned into the 4th Battalion of the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on 22 August 1914 and went to France in May 1915. His promotion to Lieutenant was gazetted on 16 June 1915, the day after he was killed in action at Locon near Festubert. An Allied attack began at 6.00 pm and the Battalion suffered heavy casualties. At least eight others were killed, many more wounded and missing. He was described as being ‘seen to fall on his left side, apparently mortally wounded, while heroically leading his men between the second and third German trenches, and not heard of since’.
Lieutenant Hewitt was officially reported as missing in action and he has no known grave. Ernest’s commanding officer said, ‘Lieutenant Hewitt, since he joined us, has become the most popular officer in the Battalion. He was a splendid soldier.’
Lieutenant Ernest Henry Hewitt was Mentioned in Despatches by Field Marshall Sir John French for ‘gallant and distinguished service in the field’. (London Gazette 1 January 1916)
Lieutenant Ernest Henry Hewitt is commemorated on Bangor and District War Memorial; on the Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque; in the Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum (Page 11); on the QUB War Memorial; in the QUB Book of Remembrance (Page 28); on the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque and on the Memorial Plaques in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) and RBAI.
[The North of Ireland Football Club (members played Rugby Football as opposed to Soccer) was founded by members of the North of Ireland Cricket Club and the North of Ireland Cricket Club Memorial Plaque commemorates members of both Clubs. Members of the Football Club were also members of the Cricket Club but not all members of the Cricket Club were members of the Football Club.]
The family memorial plaque in Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) was unveiled in August 1917.
He is also commemorated in the annals of Bangor Grammar School and on the family grave headstone in Bangor Cemetery, Newtownards Road, Bangor. It bears the inscription:
I am the resurrection and the life
Ernest Hewitt was a member of Bangor Parish Honorary Society of Bell-Ringers and he rang in the Bell Tower of Bangor Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Comgall’s) where he is commemorated on their memorial roll of sacrifice which bears the inscription:
Be thou faithful unto death
Lieutenant Ernest Henry Hewitt is also commemorated in the Church Bell Ringers’ Memorial Book 1914 – 1918 (Book 2). This book contains the inscription:
The Central Council
Memorial Book of
Who fell in the Great War
1914 – 1918
They whom this book commemorates,
Were numbered among those who,
At the call of King and Country,
Left all that was dear to them,
Endured hardness, faced danger, and
Finally passed out of the sight of men
By the path of duty and self-sacrifice,
Giving up their own lives
That others might live in freedom.