Poignant dates for family of soldiers

Edward Norman Hertwick, left, and Edward Marshall with some of their uncles military medals and the watch awarded to John Frederick Hertweck.
Edward Norman Hertwick, left, and Edward Marshall with some of their uncles military medals and the watch awarded to John Frederick Hertweck.

This month marks a poignant anniversary for a Blyth family.

Private Walter Ballantyne Gowland, better known as Hertweck, lived in Salisbury Street. He was a Northumberland Fusilier.

He was killed in action in France on August 3, 1916, during the Battle of the Somme at the age of 19.

Walter’s brother, Private John Frederick Hertweck, was with the Lancashire Fusiliers in the First World War.

The Blyth News & Wansbeck Telegraph reported that he was awarded a gold watch by the Blyth Military Medal and Homecoming Committee in 1917 for his conspicuous courage and devotion to duty when he and his fellow soldiers took Passchendaele Ridge on August 7, 1916.

After marching for over 11 hours through the night in heavy rain, he had to go straight into action owing to the severity of the German gunfire.

Although they succeeded in capturing the ridge, the Germans counter-attacked three times over the following 14 hours. However, he and his comrades managed to repulse the attacks until they were eventually relieved by a group of Australian soldiers.

Private Hertweck was killed in action in France in April 1918 at the age of 21.

Both soldiers received First World War campaign medals. The medals and the gold watch are kept by their nephews Edward Marshall, 81, and Edward Norman Hertwick, 77, who have the same name as their fathers.

Edward Norman Hertweck was the younger brother of Walter and John and their younger sister, Wilhelmina, married a man called Edward Marshall.