|Local men who served in WW1 - George Walter Hewes.
HEWES, George Walter
Australian Rank: Sergeant
Service No. 515
Australian Imperial Force 3 Coy., 54 Battalion
Date of Death 20 July 1916
Walter Hewes in Royal Naval Reserve uniform
Walter Hewes was the son of Harry George 'Hoppy' and Maria Hewes of Walmer Cottage, St Peters Road, West Mersea, born 3 September 1893. On leaving school, he worked for the Blackwater Oyster Fishery Company.
25 Oct 1912 Enrolled in Royal Naval Reserve A 4595
21 Apr 1913 Able Seaman yacht MERIDANE
2 June 1913 AB steam yacht GRETA
10 Oct 1913 AB on liner ASTURIAS 124669 for voyage to Brazil
29 Apr 1914 AB on KARAMEA 110264 voyage to New Zealand and Australia
19 Aug 1914 Walter was discharged at Sydney. "The Naval Authorities at Sydney having had no vacancies for sailors at the time, permitted the Reservist to join the Australian Military Forces."
Passenger Cargo ship KARAMEA built 1899. Shaw Savill & Albion Co. Ltd.
"In 1914 Walter was an Able Seaman in the Royal Naval Reserve, and when war broke out, his ship had docked in Australia, so he volunteered for service with the Australian Imperial Force, joining 18 August 1914.
Sergeant George Walter Hewes was in the 54 Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade and landed on the beaches at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Having realised that the offensive had failed, the British government ordered a general evacuation of all troops and George left on the HUNTSGREEN for Alexandria on December 28 1915. On June 29 1916 he arrived in France and travelled to the Western Front and took part in the attack on July 19 at Fromelles on the Aubers Ridge where he was killed. His body was never recovered and he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial on the Somme.
Sergeant Walter Hewes - a card sent back from the front
In 2009 a number of unmarked graves were excavated at Fromelles, and 250 bodies were exhumed. The graves were behind the enemy lines and the soldiers had been buried by the Germans. Since then, the painstaking process of identifying the dead has been taking place using modern techniques, and to date (October 2020) 144 have been confirmed. It is possible that Walter Hewes is one of the bodies recovered from the graves, and DNA samples are being taken to confirm his identity. It is a complex painstaking operation - see Read More below for more information.
Walter Hewes is commemorated on West Mersea War Memorial and on
Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Picardie, France. The Villers-Bretonneux Memorial
is dedicated to the Australian soldiers who fought in France and Belgium, to their dead, and especially those with no known grave.
Not Just a Name by Roger Bullen covers Walter's War in detail.
World Archaeology Fromelles - recovering the fallen
Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery - Wikipedia
Mersea men at Gallipoli
National Archives BT 377/7/4590 Royal Naval Reserve Ratings' Record of Service
Updated 8 October 2020 with photographs and information on Fromelles Project.