Harold Hewitt

Area: Brotherton
Born: 1890
Died: 1979
Service number: 77918
Regiment / Service: West Yorkshire Regiment
Family information: Married to Mary Jane nee Hodgson

War Service

Although Harold's army records are available some of the detail is unclear because of the fire damage. However, he joined the West Yorkshire Regiment on12 December 1915 and was given the service number 77918. On joining the army Harold was employed as a 'Miner'.

The following details have been taken from his record.

  • 13 December 1915 - to Army Reserve
  • 24 June 1918 - mobilised
  • 25 June 1918 - posted West Yorks 3rd Battalion
  • 28 June 1918 - to 3rd/7th Worcestershire Reg. for training at Blyth
  • 25 August 1918 - disciplined for overstaying leave by 17 hours 40 mins
  • 15 October 1918 - disciplined for overstaying leave by 2 days 12 hours
  • 25 October 1918 - embarked England
  • 26 October 1918 - disembarked France and posted 9th Battalion West Yorks in the field
  • 29 October 1918 - posted 10th West Yorks ( Service) Battalion in the field
    6 November 1918 joined battalion
  • 15 December 18 discharged - duty order return to UK of a coal miner - placed on 'Z' list

In the brief period that Harold was with the 10th West Yorkshire Regiment (attached to the 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division) they were involved in one of the last battles of the war. 

The Battle of the Sambre 4 November 1918

Forced to abandon the stronghold of Valenciennes, retreating German forces attempted a last-ditch stand on the line of the Sambre-Oise Canal. Here, on a near 40 mile front running roughly north-south from Condé to Oisy on the Sambre, British Fourth, Third and First Armies, launched a major offensive designed to bring about the utter collapse of the enemy.

 

Just before dawn on Monday 4 November British infantry advanced through dense mist across difficult country behind a stupendous supporting bombardment. Fourth Army formations, on the right, faced the great obstacle of the Sambre Canal, and early assaults met the most violent resistance. Heavy casualties were taken. The Battle of the Sambre, the last battle fought by the British Army in the war, thrust the Germans from the Sambre Canal and pushed his defences back in the Forest of Mormal. By nightfall and in worsening weather, the enemy, on the brink of defeat, reeled back in disorder.

When the Armistice came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918 the leading elements of the Division were south east of Maubeuge. Over the next two days the Division was withdrawn to the area west of Le Cateau; on 6 December it moved behind Amiens and went to billets around Hallencourt. Demobilisation began in January 1919 and the Division ceased to exist at the end of May. In all the 17th (Northern) Division had suffered the loss of 40258 killed, wounded and missing. 

Family Life

Harold Hewitt was born in Brighouse on 23 September 1890 and was baptised in the Parish Church on 30 November that year.

His parents were Joseph and Eliza Ann (nee Cheshire) who lived in Haigh Street, Brighouse. Joseph had been born in Thorpe Audlin whilst his wife was from Cambridgeshire.

In 1901 the family were living in Bonegate Road Clifton near Brighouse and Joseph was 'Road-mender (foreman)'. Harold was the oldest child at 10 with Ada (7), Olive (5) and Leonard (4). Another child, Elsie, was born in 1904. Also in the household Harold's grandmother Elizabeth Hewitt who had been born in Walden Stubbs a few miles east of Thorpe Audlin.

Harold did not have any connection with Brotherton until about 1908 when he married Mary Jane Hodgson the daughter of Emmanuel and Annice (nee Rockett) Hodgson. Both families were well established in the village.

By 1911 the couple were resident in (Nancy) Taylor's Yard and Harold had followed in his father's footsteps becoming a 'Road man Labourer'. Information in the census shows that they had had three children but only 2 were surviving. These were George aged 3 and Leonard aged 1.

His army records show that three further children were born - Bessie on 19 August 1912, Annice on 27 September 1914 and Ernest on 12 March 1916. His records, however, make no mention of George (died 1912) and Leonard (died 1911).
As yet little further detail is known except that Harold returned to Brotherton and at some stage moved into East Acres, Byram.

He died on 24 May 1979 aged 88.