Ernest Frederick James Hawthorne was the eldest child of Frederick and Bertha Phyllis Hawthorne. He was born on the 6th October 1893 at Hertingfordbury. When he was Baptised on the 17th December 1893 the family were living at 8, Hertingfordbury Road, Hertford. His father was a Whitesmith.
They had 8 children in all the last 7 of whom were all born in Hertford. After Ernest they were Archibald Douglas born 1895, Florence Maud born 1897, Frederick John born 3rd July 1899 (he enlisted on 2nd January 1917 as Gunner 15328 Royal Marine Artillery), Bertha Phyllis born 1901, Joseph Harold born 1904 and died 1909, Herbert William born 1906 and Millicent May born 1908.
At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 47 Frog’s Hall, Hertford. However, tragedy was to strike them when their mother, Bertha Phyllis, died very young aged 38 in 1910. During the census of the following year they were to be found living at 45, Hertingfordbury Road, Hertford. Ernest, like his father is employed as a Whitesmith. The Electoral Rolls show that the family remained at this address up to 1915.
Ernest’s Police Service Record has not survived but from General Order 58 of the 26th February 1919 (see full text further on) we learn that at the time of his death Ernest had 3 years 5 months service which suggest he would have been Appointed about March 1914.
General Order 41 of the 17th March 1915 advised that PC 142 Hawthorne E.F. was being transferred from E Division Hitchin to G Division Wheathampstead effective from 24th March 1915.
General Order 96 of the 5th June 1915 announced the following:
“Police Constable (Naval and Military service) Act, 1914. Police (Emergency Provisions) Act 1915.
The undermentioned Police Sergeant and Constables being desirous of enlisting in H.M. Army for the period of the war, the Deputy Chief Constable hereby gives the necessary consent for enlistment, as required by the above Acts:
1. PS 20 Wright H. B Division
2. PC 316 Brown A.S. D Division
3. PC 19 Carder H.W. D Division
4. PC 314 Corne A.W. D Division
5. PC 142 Hawthorne E.F. G Division
The Sergeant and Constables will be permitted to join the Army at once and will be paid up to and including the date prior to that on which they commence to draw Army Pay. The Superintendents concerned will report to Headquarters the date on which the Sergeant and Constables are enlisted in the Army, and the Sergeant and Constables will be struck off the strength of the establishment of the Force, as from that date.”
It is interesting to note that all 5 men must have had experience with riding horses as Ernest enlisted with the 2nd Life Guards and the other four joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry.
Published on the 19th June 1915 in the Herts Advertiser:
“Police Constables With The Colours
Three Harpenden police officers, viz: Pc’s Neville J. Reid, Hermon Rowlingson and Frank Potton have joined the Hertfordshire Yeomanry. Another police officer from Harpenden who is with the colours is PC Wright, Grenadier Guards, who has been wounded. In addition, the following Hertfordshire constables who were formerly stationed at Harpenden are with the forces: PC Pond, R.G.A. joined from Royston, PC Ward, R.G.A. joined from Tring, PC Whippe, drill instructor at Bedford, joined from Hitchin district, PC Ernest F. Hawthorn, of Wheathampstead has also enlisted.”
From General Order 118 of 21st July 1915 we see that PC 142G E. Hawthorne appears in a list of 96 officers which included the Chief Constable, 43 Constables who were Army reservists who were recalled and 50 Constables and 2 Sergeants who volunteered for military service. He is shown as having enlisted in the 2nd Life Guards on 16th June 1915.
Ernest’s Army Service Record has not survived but from his marriage certificate we can see that he married Lena Brown on 29th January 1916 at Bishops, Hatfield. Ernest is recorded as being a Private in the 2nd Life Guard from Holy Trinity, Windsor. A witness to the marriage was PC 145 Frederick William Abbiss who was Trooper 4695 of the 2nd Life Guards having enlisted 4 days before Ernest. PC 319 Charles Potter who also enlisted in the 2nd Life Guards was Trooper 4696.
From his Medal Roll Index Card, Medal Roll, Soldiers effects, Soldiers Died in the Great War transcript and Commonwealth War Grave Commission records we know the following:
Having joined the 2nd Life Guards as Trooper 3700 he transferred and was promoted to Acting Corporal 438 in the Household Battalion of the Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (incl. Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps). He was killed in action in France on 25th August 1917. He is Remembered with Honour at Roeux British Cemetery. He authorised his effects were to go to his widow Lena. He was posthumously awarded the British War and Victory medals.
Published on the 22nd September 1917 in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer:
“Hawthorn. Pte. Ernest Hawthorn, killed in action, August 25, 1917, aged 25 years.
Through shot and shell he fought, and fought on well;
No thought of fear or pain,
Till God thought it best to lay him at rest,
After toiling for those he loved dear,
Sleep on dear one, thy troubles are o’er,
Thy willing hands shall toil no more,
On earth there’s strife, in heaven there’s rest,
We loved him most, we loved him best.
From his sorrowing wife and parents“.
Again, published on 6th October 1917 in the Hertford Mercury and Reformer
“Hatfield. Pte. E.F. Hawthorn, 438, Household Battn. Killed”
Ernest is remembered on the Hertford Town Memorial, St Andrew’s Church Roll of Honour, Hertford ,St Andrew’s Church Memorial, Hertford and on Hatfield War Memorial.
General Order 58 of 26th February 1919 announced, amongst many different payments to various widows and Police pensioners, that under The Police Factories etc. (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1917, Ernest’s widow Lena had received £2 0s 10d as a refund of Rateable Deductions taken from his pay. This was because no pension was payable from Police Funds as she was already receiving a War Pension. The amount represented payments made over a period of 3 years 5 months of service.