Thomas (Tom) Hewitt was born in Flint, in 1895, and baptised on 15th August, 1895 at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint, and was the youngest of six children to Edward (Ned) Hewitt and Margaret (Williams).
In Tom’s early years the family were living at Muspratt Terrace, Flint and he attended the National School.
His mother, Margaret, who was born in Bangor, Caernarvonshire, died on 7th December, 1907, aged 48, at 1, Mumforth Street, Flint, and is buried in the Northop Road Cemetery, Flint.
The 1911 census found Tom living with his sister and her husband, Mr and Mrs James Payton, at 25, Rowsley Street, Gorton, Manchester. Tom’s occupation was a trolley boy with the Manchester Tramway.
Tom’s father, Edward, re-married to 49-year-old widow Sarah Ann Morris at St Mary’s Parish Church, Flint on 5th June, 1911, and they lived for a while at 54, Mount Pleasant, the home of his brother, Lance Sergeant William Hewitt and was employed as a steel worker. Edward and Sarah later moved to 45, Mumforth Street, Flint.
Tom returned to Flint and gained employment at the British Glanzstoff Works. He was a single man and a member of the Parish Church.
Tom had been in the Flint Company of the 5th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers for about six months before war broke out. The Battalion landed at Gallipoli in August 1915.
In his last letter home, dated 3rd August, 1915, Tom said: “Probably we shall have seen some fighting by the time you receive this letter.” Seven days later, on 10th August, he was killed in action in the first engagement of the 1/5th at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Turkey on Panels 77 to 80.
He is remembered on the St Mary’s Parish Church war memorial, Flint, and was awarded the 1914–15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
In a letter to a friend, dated 21st August, 1915, Sergeant Tom Bithell, of Holywell Road, wrote about his experiences with the 1/5th Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He stated that the Battalion was “still going through it all.” They had had a good many losses since they had been there, and he thought they had lost 11 officers. The whole of the men had all had a very narrow escape; but they thanked God they had escaped. When one saw men getting shot it made one feel anxious. The previous week a shell dropped a yard away from him, and killed three and wounded five other men. Three others got away safely. He bandaged two, under heavy fire. That was only one instance of many.
One of the men was hit in the shoulder. One was a young lad of Flint, and his father was a Mr Edward Hewitt. At the time Hewitt was just along side of him, and they were all under heavy fire. Sergeant Bithell wrote:
“A bullet just passed my face, and it caught him in the temple, went through his head, and he fell on his face. I dropped down under cover, and put out my hand to turn him over. I saw who it was, and I carried him under heavy fire for about thirty yards. How I got through it I do not know, but one does not know the danger in times like that. I gave him a sip of water and he said he felt a little better. He died a few minutes afterwards. But for all this hardship we are fighting for a good cause, which must be done.”
Continuing, he added that after being in the trenches a fortnight one felt like wanting a rest. He had a good chance of getting through the terrible war. They were all getting more used to it. He was just going to have a shot at a sniper. The place was full of them, and every day they “got” some of the men when going for water. He did not think the war would last much longer there. He could not say how many of the Flint men had been wounded until the Battalion were at the base and the roll was called properly, but he could not state when that would take place. The men were not downhearted.
Tom’s father, Ned, was born in Flint and died in March, 1923, aged 68, and was buried with his first wife.