Date of birth: 7 June 1892
Date of death: 14 October 1914
Died of wounds received in action aged 22
Buried at Vieille-Chapelle New Military Cemetery, Lacouture Plot V C 10
William George was born at Gatehouse-of-Fleet, the second son of the Hon. William James Hewitt, only son of the 4th Viscount Lifford by his second marriage, and his wife Evelyn Frances Carey.
William was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Christ Church, coming up in 1911. At Christ Church he ran with the Beagles becoming First Whip, he was a member of the Loders Club and keenly interested in all sport.
He was gazetted from the Officers’ Training Corps as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 3rd Royal Scots on 7 August 1914, and was attached to the 2nd Battalion, which on the outbreak of war, was in Plymouth. After only a few weeks training, he went to France on 27 September and joined his battalion as part of 8th Brigade in the trenches on 10 October. On 13 October his parents received a telegram to say he was “missing”; on 16 October a further telegram informed them that he was “wounded”; on 18 October a third telegram said he was “found dead”.
He had been killed in action near Neuve Chapelle during the first battle of Ypres on 13 October 1914 whilst helping a wounded soldier. Of him it was said “ He was most charming in manner and it was always a pleasure to be with him; he has died nobly and in his short time had lived a simple and straight life.”
On 26 October his parents received a fourth telegram to say that William’s elder brother, James, had been “killed in action”.
His father went to a lot of trouble trying to find what had happened to William, even enquiring of the American Consul in Paris. Later the story emerged and his father received a letter stating that “William had been wounded on the 13th but he could not be picked up at the time owing to being under severe fire and that he was found dead on either the 15th or 16th by 2nd Lieutenant Pitman, 3rd Royal Scots, who knew him well as they were at Oxford together”. It was all the more tragic that he may have been saved had it been possible to recover him from no-man’s land sooner.
Later James’ personal effects were returned to their father but not William’s. The matter was investigated and his father was informed: “The Officer commanding 2/Royal Scots reports that the kit of the deceased officer was handed over to the Rail Transport Officer on 19/10/14 and his sword may be among those now in the Quarter Master’s stores, but cannot be identified as it bears no distinguishing mark. The watch cannot be traced, it was not in the deceased valise and may have been buried with him. The belt containing £11 was dispatched to the base but was lost in transit.” There was an enquiry into the lost belt and money but the officer at the front who posted it explained, “they were being heavily shelled and the transport was loaded ready to move off, but for the next few days they were entrenched and had difficulty in despatching mail and so a proper receipt was not obtained”. William’s father said he was not concerned about the money, he just wanted his son’s personal effects returned. The correspondence continued until July 1915.
from “The Diary” published by Dalgety Bay & Hillend Community Council newsletter December 2009/January 2010
William’s and James’ parents lived at St. Colme House, Aberdour, Fife. and there is a Memorial plaque to their only children in St Fillan's Church in Aberdour.
William’s Probate record was sealed in London on 3 March 1915.
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