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Victoria Cross Holders of the King's Own Royal Regiment

Lance Corporal James Hewitson VC

Victoria Cross awarded to Lance Corporal James Hewitson, number 15833, 1st/4th (Territorial Force) Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment

James Hewitson was born at Thwaite Farm, Coniston, on 5th October 1892. Educated at Coniston CE School, he enlisted in the 8th (Service) Battalion King’s Own on 17th November 1914 and later transferred to the 1/4th Battalion (Territorial Force). Lance-Corporal Hewitson won his Victoria Cross near Givenchy on 26th April 1918 and was recommended on 8th May for the award, which was published in the London Gazette of 28th June 1918.

“For most conspicuous bravery, initiative and daring action. In a daylight attack on a series of crater posts L/Cpl Hewitson led his party to their objective with dash and vigour, clearing the enemy from both trench and dugouts, killing in one dugout six of the enemy who would not surrender. After capturing the final objective, he observed a hostile machine-gun team coming into action against his men. Working his way round the edge of the crater he attacked the team, killing four and capturing one. Shortly afterwards he engaged a hostile bombing party which was attacking a Lewis gun post; he routed the party, killing six of them. The extraordinary feats of daring performed by this gallant non-commissioned officer crushed the hostile opposition at this point.”

Promoted to Corporal, Hewitson received his VC from King George V in France on 8th August, 1918 and returned home to a civic welcome in Coniston. Until his death, on 2nd March 1963, James Hewitson lived and worked in Coniston and is buried in the parish churchyard.

Lance Corporal James Hewitson VC
Accession Number: KO1360/04

Presentation of the Victoria Cross to Lance Corporal James Hewitson VC by HM King George V on 8th August 1918.
Accession Number: KO2638/02

Postcard of King’s Own solider on their way to France circa 1921. The group includes Corporal James Hewitson VC of the 1/4th Battalion.
The soldiers include one with the Military Medal and others with 1914-15 Stars, but not used issued with their British War Medals and or Allied Victory Medals.
The rear of the card is addressed to “Mr J E Parker, 15 Maple Avenue, Ulverston” and “Taken on board ship on way to France, 1921” “Coniston VC Deceased”
The party is probably going to France for the unveiling of the 55th West Lancashire Division memorial at Givenchy. The memorial was unveiled on 15 May 1921, with Marshall Joffre, the Mayor of Liverpool, Duchess of Sutherland and General Jeudwine being present.
From the Westmorland Gazette 21 May 1921:
Cpl James Hewitson left Coniston on Friday last for France to be present at the unveiling of the war memorial to the 55th West Lancashire division at Givenchy les la Bassee. Cpl Hewitson belonged to the 4th King's Own and won the V C at Givenchy on 26th April 1918 where he killed 6 Germans and held an exposed position for 9 hours before being forced to retreat.
Accession Number: KO3124/31 and  KO2295/01

Corporal James Hewitson VC at the 1922 Old Comrades Association Re-union Dinner in 1922.
Accession Number: KO0012/30

Corporal Hewitson's tunic, showing four overseas service chevrons and four wound stripes on the sleeves, along with the medal ribbons for the Victoria Cross, 1914/15 Star, British War and Allied Victory Medals.  The uniform is on permanent display in the King's Own Museum.
Accession Number: KO1703/01
Corporal Hewitson's Service Dress cap.  On permanent display in the King's Own Museum.
Accession Number: KO1703/02

Grave of James Hewitson VC in Coniston churchyard, Cumbria.
Accession Number: KO1360/02

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