Hewitt, Holt Montgomery

Hewitt, Holt Montgomery (Holt)

Corporal

No. 17872, ‘A’ Company, 13th Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, commissioned into

9th Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers

Lieutenant

109th Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 36th Ulster Division

Killed in action on Saturday 1 July 1916 (aged 29)

Buried:

Mill Road Cemetery, France (Grave XIX. D. 9)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Bangor and District War Memorial

Royal British Legion (Bangor Branch) Memorial Plaque

Comrades of the Great War (Bangor Branch) Album in North Down Museum

Bangor Rugby Football Club

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

Brother of Lieutenant Ernest Henry Hewitt MID

Brother of Second Lieutenant William Arthur Hewitt

BIOGRAPHY

Holt Montgomery Hewitt was born on 11 June 1887 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.

After leaving RBAI, Holt Montgomery Hewitt served an apprenticeship as an accountant, worked as a manager for a local coal merchant and then as a commercial traveller.  He played rugby at half-back for Bangor and the North of Ireland Rugby Football Clubs. He was also a member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, serving for two years with the North Down Battalion in Bangor.

He enlisted in Bangor on 14 September 1914 and joined the 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles.  After being commissioned on 30 September 1914 into the 9th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers he went to France on 4 October 1915.  On 24 January 1916 Holt Hewitt transferred to the 109th Machine Gun Corps in the 36th (Ulster) Division.

Holt was killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and his brother Willie died on the same day. The war diary for the 109th Machine Gun Company reported that ‘Teams 1, 2, 3 and 16 under their officers Lt H. Hewitt and 2nd Lt N. Edinborough were completely wiped out in No Man’s Land.’ At the time they were heading for a position known as Lisnaskea Trench.

The Adjutant of the 9th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, E.W. Crawford wrote afterwards, ‘Poor Holt – the most lovable and cheerful of souls! His Sergeant says he was killed outright. He was one of my closest friends and although he had gone to the Machine Gun Corps, we of the 9th Inniskillings considered him one of ours’.

Lieutenant Holt Montgomery Hewitt was buried in Mill Road Cemetery, France and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE

Lieutenant Holt Montgomery 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); in Bangor Rugby Football Club; 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

Holt 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 Holt Montgomery 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

Church Bell-Ringers

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.