57075 Private Jonathan Hewitt, 2/6th Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment was killed in action 28 February 1918 and is buried at Menin Road South Military Cemetery, Ypres, Belgium.[1]  He was 32 years old and is commemorated on Evenwood War Memorial and the Memorial Plaque in St. Paul’s Church, Evenwood.

Family Details

 Jonathan was born about 1886 [2] at Hamsterley, the son of William and Elizabeth Hewitt.  There were at least 4 children: [3]

  • John T. bc. 1882 at Etherley
  • George William bc.1884 at Howden-le-Wear
  • Albert Edward bc.1886 at Howden-le-Wear
  • Jonathan bc.1887 at Hamsterley

By 1901 the Hewitt family lived at Victoria Terrace, Evenwood and Jonathan’s father William worked as a “colliery stationary engine driver”, his brother John was a “colliery banksman”, George was a bricklayer, Albert was a “colliery screener” and 14 year old Jonathan worked as a “colliery labourer”.[4]

By 1911, the family lived at Alexandra Terrace, William and Elizabeth had been married for 32 years and he worked as a colliery engineman.  George William (Bill), Albert Edward (Ted) and Jonathan (Jontey) were all single, all worked at the colliery and all lived at home.  G.H. Dixon was a 23 year old boarder who was a colliery fireman.  Their older brother John did not live with the family.

28 December 1912, Jonathan Hewitt married Jessie Bannister of Evenwood at St. Paul’s Church, Evenwood and by 1915 they lived at 12 Victoria Terrace, Evenwood. [5]

Service Details

 Jonathan Hewitt attested 10 December 1915 aged 28 years 11 months.[6]  He was 5ft.2½” tall and weighed 121 lbs.[7]  Private J. Hewitt served in the Army Reserve and was mobilized 24 May 1917, being posted to 2/6th Battalion, the West Yorkshire Regiment. [8]   The 2/6th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment was formed at Bradford 12 September 1914 and attached to the 185th Brigade of the 62nd (2nd West Riding) Division. [9]  Units in the 185th Brigade were:

  • 2/5th Battalion, the West Yorkshires joined March 1915 left August 1918
  • 2/6th Battalion, the West Yorkshires joined March 1915 left January 1918
  • 2/7th Battalion, the West Yorkshires joined March 1915 left June 1918
  • 2/8th Battalion, the West Yorkshires joined March 1915 left February 1918
  • 212th Brigade Machine Gun Company joined 9 March 1917
  • 185th Trench Mortar Battery

The reserve units were formed up into a 2nd Line Division initially called the 2nd West Riding from early 1915.  Early clothing and equipment for these units was haphazard and many had to train in civilian clothes.  It was only from very late 1915 that proper equipment was received.

The Division concentrated on the Western Front by 18 January 1917 and fought with distinction until the Armistice playing a part in major actions, including: [10]

  • 14 March to 5 April 1917: the German Retreat to the Hindenburgh Line as part of the V Corps Fifth Army
  • The Flanking Battles in support of the Battle of Arras, on the Bullecourt Flank, as part of the V Corps, Fifth Army namely:
    • 11 April 1917: the first attack on Bullecourt
    • 15 April 1917: the German attack on Lagnicourt
    • 3 May to 17 May 1917: the Battle of Bullecourt
    • 20 May to 16 June 1917: actions on the Hindenburgh Line
  • 20 and 21 November 1917: as part of the IV Corps, Third Army- the Battle of Cambrai, the Tank Attack.

5 January 1918, the Division took over the front line in the Arras area between Gavrelle and Oppy. [11]

It is known that Private J. Hewitt suffered illness in July & August 1917 and January 1918 – a septic foot needing 4 days hospital treatment at VAD Ashington Hospital, Northumberland in July 1917.  He was sick with trench foot for 33 days in August 1917.[12]  In early January 1918, Private J. Hewitt suffered with laryngitis and was treated at a Field Ambulance.[13]

Private J. Hewitt served a total of 2 years 81 days until his death 28 February 1918 – he was killed in action and served with 2/6 West Yorkshire Regiment [14] although, the reverse side of Army Form B.103 indicates that Private J. Hewitt was posted to 1/6 Battalion, the West Yorkshire Regiment, 30 January 1918.[15]

The date he entered France is undecipherable but if he was at Ashington Hospital in July 1917 and suffered with trench foot in August 1917 then it seems likely that trench foot would have been contracted in France/Belgium.

The War Diary for the 2/6 Bn., the West Yorkshire Regiment has not been researched.  The War Diary for the 1/6 Battalion records that from 23 February to the end of the month, it was stationed at Hussar Camp East (Potijze) near Ypres, Belgium in the Brigade Reserve.  The battalion provided working parties for the 456th Company, Royal Engineers in the forward area and 19th Bn., the Lancashire Fusiliers in Zonnebeke carrying material from Crucifix Dump to the forward area.

26 February: 2 working parties of 2 officers and 100 other ranks and 4 officers and 100 other ranks were provided for the forward area.  No details are given for 28 February, the date when Private J. Hewitt was killed in action.  The front line battalion HQ is given at position D28b4.3.  The battalion relieved 1/7 Bn., the West Yorkshire Regiment in the front line 29 February from position D23d2.8 to J5b2.8.  No details of casualties are given.[16]

It is presumed that Private J. Hewitt was killed in action as a result of the usual violence of warfare – shrapnel wound from a shell burst or gun-shot wound from rifle of machine gun fire.  Later research records that between 26 February and 1 March 1918, 2/6 West Yorkshire Regiment lost XX Officers and XX Other Ranks killed in action or died of wounds.[17]

Private J. Hewitt was awarded the British war and Victory medals.[18]

 News of his Death

The Evenwood Church Magazine of April 1918 reported as follows:

“I am grieved to say that news has arrived that Pte. J. Hewitt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Hewitt of Alexandra Terrace, has fallen in action.  Our deepest sympathies and condolences will go out both to his young wife and to his parents.  We think of these sacrificed young lives with both grief and gratitude.  We owe them so very much because they have given us their all.  We grieve for them because the places of such as these are hard to fill.  However their memory will endure.” [19]


Private J. Hewitt is buried at grave reference 111.H.31 Menin Road South Cemetery, Ypres.  The cemetery is 2km east of Ypres town centre, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.  The cemetery was always within Allied lines and it was used by the Field Ambulances until the summer of 1918.  There are 1,657 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] England & Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 Vol.10s p.212 Auckland 1887 Q1

[3] 1891, 1901, 1911 census & CWGC Note: CWGC details inform that Jonathan was the son of William and Jane Hewitt of Evenwood however the 1891, 1901 and 1911 census details confirm her name as Elizabeth.  Perhaps she had 2 names and preferred Jane.

[4] 1901 census

[5] Army Form B2512 Descriptive Report on Enlistment

[6] Army Form B.2512

[7] Army Form B.178 Medical History

[8] Army Form B.108 Casualty Form-Active Service

[9] http://www.1914-1918.net/westyorks.htm

[10] http://www.1914-1918.net/26div.htm

[11] http://www.1914-1918.net/26div.htm

[12] Army Form: Admissions to Hospital

[13] Army Form B.103

[14] CWGC & Army Form: Statement of the Services

[15] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form-Active Service Card Index: exact Army Form reference is unknown.  CWGC headstone details record both 2/6 & 1/6 battalions, West Yorkshire Regiments.

[16] War Diary 1/6th  Battalion The Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regiment) 13 – 29 February 1918

[17] Officers & Soldiers Died in the Great War

[18] Medal Roll card index

[19] Evenwood Church Magazine April 1918


HEWITT J. photo

HEWITT J. photo

HEWITT J. & wife, Jessie

& wife, Jessie

HEWITT J.  Headstone