A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- People -
- Newchurch - Hywel Leonard Benjamin Lewis -


Pilot Officer 131099 Hywel Leonard Benjamin Lewis, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information

A bright future in the education world appeared to be ahead of PILOT OFFICER HYWEL LEONARD BENJAMIN LEWIS but at twenty years and one month of age he was one of the youngest members of our Parish community to lose his life in the 1939 - 1945 War.

Hywel was born on 6th January 1923 at Kingsbridge in Devon the son of Benjamin Lewis, a schoolmaster, and Dora Lewis. The family moved to 'Culver View' Alverstone Garden Village some time before 1930 and from there Hywel attended the Cliff School at Shanklin before becoming a pupil at King's School Harrow where he made full use of his undoubted scholastic ability. He also took advantage of the sports facilities at King's School through which he developed into a fine all-round athlete and, as well as being Head Prefect, he eventually became Captain of Cricket and of Football. The War interrupted Hywel's education and whilst waiting to join the Services he took a post at Stoke School at Gosport where, upon the Headmaster being called up for military service, Hywel found himself very temporary Headmaster before attaining his eighteenth birthday.

On 18th April 1941 Hywel Lewis joined the Royal Air Force and, after preliminary training at 11 I.T.W. at Scarborough he was posted to the United States for pilot training. He arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia on New Year's Day 1942 and after a short spell at Monkton, New Brunswick, he commenced training at the United States Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida. By 11th September 1942 he had completed the course of training at the very high standard prescribed for aviators of the United States Navy and was posted to Royal Air Force Ferry Command, first as a co-pilot on PBY flying-boats and subsequently on various other types of aircraft. He was commissioned on 24th September 1942.

On 9th February 1943 Pilot Officer Lewis was co-pilot of a Liberator aircraft of Ferry Command flying from the United Kingdom to North America which crashed in Newfoundland in a violent storm after being prevented by bad weather from landing at its usual landing field. With his fellow crew members and some passengers, nineteen in all, Hywel Lewis was killed and with them he is buried near the scene of the crash at Gander in Newfoundland.

In his short career his great charm and personality had made him many friends in England, Canada and the United States and many of them were present at the memorial services held in Montreal and at King's School, Harrow.

From CWGC record :

Gives first name as Howel, same as that inscribed on the Newchurch War Memorial

Buried at Gander War Cemetery, Plot 3. Row 2. Grave 14.

CWGC record ...


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