Christ Church Crest
 
 
   
 
ยป David Edward Somerville HAWKINS
 
 

David Edward Somerville HAWKINS

Service number 44803

Born: January 7th 1916
Died: June 3rd 1941

David was born in London the younger son of Anthony Hope Hawkins and his wife Elizabeth Somerville Sheldon. His father was better known as Anthony Hope. He was a playwright and author best known for “The Prisoner of Zenda” [1894] and its sequel “Rupert of Hentzau” [1898]. The author Kenneth Grahame was his first cousin. On the return journey from his second tour of America, he met Elizabeth Somerville, daughter of Charles Henry Sheldon, of New York. She was twenty years younger than him. They were married, soon after, in London on July 1st 1903, and had a daughter in 1905 and a son, the following year.

His father was knighted in 1918 for his contribution to propaganda during the War. The family lived at 41 Bedford Square which bears a Blue Plaque. Later, they moved to Heath Farm, Walton-on-the Hill.

Like his father who died in 1933, he was educated at Marlborough.  At the end of that year, David went to New York and returned to Plymouth on January 1st 1934. Whilst at school, he was a Cadet Under-Officer in the Junior Division of the College’s OTC.

He Matriculated in 1934 and read PPE, graduating in 1938. 

He joined the army and was gazetted Second Lieutenant on August 12th 1938. It is not known when he transferred to the Royal Air Force.

He was killed whilst on a training flight on June 3rd 1941. He was serving as a Pilot Officer with 226 Squadron which had moved to Wattisham, Suffolk, the previous month.

He is buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery Plot 25. A. 1.

His mother died five years later.

Offered for sale in 2011
Autograph Letter Signed, "Anthony H. Hawkins", on his imprinted Heath Farm stationery. Two pages, octavo. Very fine condition. Accompanied by original envelope addressed to "Charles Wilson Esq., Watling Ville, Willington, Co. Durham", with "AHH", at bottom left

Walton on the Hill, Tadworth, Surrey", February 12, 1933
"My dear Wilson, I am glad that your bulletin about yourself records good progress. I hope it has gone on steadily since you wrote. Your patience must be sorely tried, and will be for some time yet, I'm afraid, but at least it is a great thing that the pain is less severe and the inflammation mitigated. I have been more lucky than you in that I have had little actual pain except for endocrinal  cramp, which is uncomfortable but does not last long at a time. In other ways I keep well (barring the cough) and am, I think, getting a little more strength. I can't expect too much as I have just kept my 70th birthday! Galsworthy is a great loss; he was a fine writer and a fine man-liberal and generous, and public spirited; I was very sorry I couldn't go to the Abbey, but such funerals are very tiring, and I had to content myself with sending sympathy and a contribution to the Fund he wanted his friends to help in lieu of sending flowers. My little room is full of sunshine this morning, but outside a bitter wind, and the night was very cold. We must still work. Best wishes from my wife and myself, ever yours, Anthony H.Hawkins”
Charles Wilson (1891-1969) a native of Willington who had begun his working life as a miner was a freelance journalist active in the Labour movement. By the mid-1920s, he had become well known locally as a journalist and one-man adult education bureau. His mission was to entice men of letters to his home town. Letters exist between him and Huxley and DH Lawrence, amongst others.

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