20418 Lance Corporal Lewis Hing, 4th Battalion Oxon & Bucks Light Infantry, later 10243 Royal Defence Corps; 30th Battalion London Regt and M/398035 Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport
Born on 14th April 1887 in Northall, Edlesborough, Bucks
Died on 13th March 1954 in St Paul’s Hospital, Hemel Hempstead
Lewis Hing was born in Northall, Edlesborough, the fourth of the 8 children of Joseph Hing and Sarah Jane née Ginger.
His siblings were:
- Brother: William James Hing, born 14th June 1881
- Sister: Jane, born 4th September 1882
- Brother: Edward Hing, born 5th July 1885
- Sister: Minnie, born 23rd March 1889
- Brother: Joseph Hing (Joe Jnr.), born 27th November 1890
- Brother: Frederick, born 27th March 1893
- Sister: Dorothy Ruth, born 29th January 1895
When Lewis was born, his family lived at Pest House Lane, Northall, Edlesborough and his father was a Farm Labourer.
Early in 1893, Joseph, Sarah and their family moved from Northall to Meadow Farm, 1 Ringshall, an Ashridge Estate holding which the family then farmed for 35 years until the Estate was sold.
The Little Gaddesden School Log Book of 20th February 1893 notes:
Two new faces here this morning – Edward and Lewis Ing from Northall. Their parents have taken the house formerly occupied by George Whitman of Ringshall.
Edward Hing was then aged 7½ and Lewis an infant aged 5 years 10 months. The spelling of their surname is initially recorded as “Ing” in the School Log Book, and later as “Hing”.
On 10th March 1899, Lewis was one of the nine children to take their Labour Certificate exam. Others included Frederick Cutler and Ernest Ruffett. Lewis passed all sections except the Writing. He then tried again in February 1900 but to no avail. The Log Book records that on 23rd April 1900 “Henry Fountain and Louis Ing have left with Certificates.” Maybe he left with a Certificate of Attendance as he was then 13 years old?
On Census night, 31st March 1901, Lewis, his parents and six of his seven siblings were resident at Meadow Farm. 13 year old Lewis was a House Boy and 15 year old Edward Hing a Stable Lad (Groom); Minnie, 12, Joseph Hing, 10, Frederick, 8 and Dorothy, 6 were all at school. 18 year old Jane’s entry recorded “no occupation”. Lewis’ brother James Hing was then a 19 year old Domestic Groom, living in “Rooms above the Coach House” at Bovingdon House, Bovingdon.
In the 1911 Census, 23 year old Lewis was a Chauffeur, living at home at Meadow Farm, 1 Ringshall with his parents Joseph and Sarah and brothers Joseph Hing, 20, a Labouring Gardener and Frederick, 18, a Farm Labourer. Lewis’ father was the Watchman at Ashridge House and his youngest brother Frederick was the only family member recorded as a Farm Labourer.
Lewis’ “Burnt Documents” Army Service Record has survived, though it is very badly water damaged and parts cannot be read. It shows that, on 31st December 1915, he attested for the 4th (Supernumerary) Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry at Oxford. He then lived at The Priory, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, where he probably worked as the Chauffeur. The page detailing his physical details is largely illegible but his age was declared as 29 (he was actually 28). His vision was good but he had defective hearing in his right ear. In O.B.L.I. he then served as a Private, Service Number 20418.
However, on 29th April 1916, Lewis agreed to transfer to the Royal Defence Corps; he then served as a Private, Service Number 10243, in 259 Protection Company. Information in “The Long, Long Trail” explains that the Royal Defence Corps was, according to Army Council Instruction 841 of 19th April 1916, created:
To carry out duties connected with the local defence of the United Kingdom, including those hitherto performed by the Supernumerary Territorial Force Companies…
Protection Company 259 was one of 50 such companies allocated to the Southern Command.
Between 17th August 1917 and 6th July 1918, Lewis served in the Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport. He then spent at least some of that time at No 1 Reserve Mechanical Transport Depot at Grove Park, Lewisham.
Later, on 7th July 1918, he is transferred briefly to the 30th Reserve Battalion of the London Regiment. However, by the end of September 1918, Lewis was back in the Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport, as part of 15 G.H.Q. Reserve Mechanical Transport Company. However, he only served in that Company until 15th November 1918, as he was then admitted to 58 Casualty Clearing Station suffering from Influenza. That Casualty Clearing Station was at Tincourt near Peronne, France.
On 22nd June 1919, Lewis was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was disembodied (discharged from the Territorial Force) on demobilisation on 22nd September 1919, to return to his home address, 1 Ringshall. For his War Service, Lewis was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal, though his Medal Roll Index Card gives his surname as King. Fortunately, the service number on that record corresponds to that in his Service Record, in which his surname is correct and his father’s name and home address are also given.
On 22nd November 1913 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden, Lewis’ sister Minnie Hing married Arthur William English of Holwell, Dorset, who subsequently served in the Royal Fusiliers. However, on 12th December 1917 G/53105, Private Arthur William English, 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers died of wounds in France. He is buried at Le Cateau Military Cemetery, Nord, France where his Grave Reference is V. D. 13.
After Arthur’s death, it seems that Minnie returned to her parents’ home. Then, on 23rd April 1919, at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden, she married Herbert (Bert) Andrews of 6 Little Gaddesden. By the time the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Grave Registration Reports were compiled in the 1920s, Minnie and Bert had moved to 50 Little Gaddesden, where he worked in the market garden at the Manor House, which explains the following information in Arthur’s entry:
Son of the late Henry English, of Holwell, Sherborne, Dorset. Husband of Minnie Andrews (formerly English), of 50, Little Gaddesden, Berkhamsted, Herts.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Lewis Hing is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. On the original Roll his unit is listed in abbreviated form. However, on the Centenary Revision of the Roll, it is listed more formally as Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport. His brothers Edward Hing, James Hing and Joseph Hing are also listed on the Rolls. All four survived the War and all finished their service in the unit by then entitled the Royal Army Service Corps Mechanical Transport.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
In late 1919 Lewis Hing, Batchelor, of Little Gaddesden married Annie Elizabeth Smith, Spinster, of Cuddesdon, Oxfordshire. Their Banns were read at All Saints, Cuddesdon on 26th October, 2nd November and 9th November 1919. Annie’s father was George Smith, a Labourer.
By 1921, Electoral Registers show Lewis and Annie living at 17 Little Gaddesden, then recorded as “17 High Street, Little Gaddesden”.
Their first son, Leonard Herbert Hing, was born on 27th August 1920 and baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 3rd October 1920.
Their second son Edward Lewis Hing, was born in the 3rd Quarter of 1926. Edward was then baptised at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden on 10th October 1926, the same day as his cousin Iris, the daughter of Lewis’ sister Dorothy.
A Little Gaddesden British Legion Outing 5
The Little Gaddesden Branch of the British Legion (now the Royal British Legion) was established in 1923 out of the Old Comrades’ Association. It was the seventh Legion branch to be established in the UK and, according to information in “A Century Remembered”, Lewis’ brother Joe Hing was one of its founder members. A photo has been found of a 1925 British Legion outing. The man standing 5th from the left with trilby hat and pipe and with an X marked on his pale raincoat is Edward Saunders. The others, however, have not been identified but the man 2nd from the right is thought to be Lewis Hing.
Lewis’ parents, Joseph and Sarah Hing of Meadow Farm, 1 Ringshall, had eight children and nine grandchildren.
A photo taken in 1928 or 1929 shows them all.
2nd Row L to R: Minnie and Gladys Nash, daughters of Reuben Nash and Jane née Hing; Arthur Putman husband of Dorothy; Reuben Nash; Herbert Andrews and his wife Minnie née Hing; Joe Hing Jnr; Edward Hing and his wife Daisy; Edith, wife of James Hing; Joyce their daughter; Lewis.
Seated on chairs L to R: Dorothy Putman née Hing, wife of Arthur, with their daughter Iris; Jane Nash née Hing, wife of Reuben; Joseph and Sarah; William James Hing; Annie wife of Lewis Hing with their son Edward Jnr.
Information in “A Century Remembered” indicates that Lewis was a chauffeur who ran a transport service from the Bridgewater Arms Hotel in Little Gaddesden, first by horse drawn waggon and later by car. However, the 1939 Register shows that, by September 1939, he was incapacitated.
Death of his son Leonard Hing 17, 18, 19
In May 1940, Lewis and Annie’s elder son Leonard (Len) Hing, Lewis’ brother Joe Hing and Joe’s son Ray all volunteered for the Home Guard, initially called the Local Defence Volunteers. Both Len Hing and Ray were subsequently called up for military service. Unfortunately Len Hing, who went to France two days after D Day, was seriously wounded in the head on 1st August 1944 and died of his wounds in the Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford on 23rd September 1944. Then, on 27th September 1944, 24 year old Len Hing was buried in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden.
On 13th March 1954, 66 year old Lewis Hing of 17 Little Gaddesden died in St Paul’s Hospital, Hemel Hempstead. Six days later, on 19th March, he was buried in the old churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden. His widow Annie remained in Little Gaddesden until her death, aged 80, on 6th November 1968. On 9th November 1968, she too was buried in Little Gaddesden churchyard.
4. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906
5. Leonhardt, John (ed), 2002, A Century Remembered – a celebration of the Millennium in Little Gaddesden, Rural Heritage Society of Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Ashridge
11. Little Gaddesden Marriage Register 1913 and 1919
16. Little Gaddesden Baptism Register 1813 – 1947
17. Police Constable Parker’s list of Little Gaddesden’s Local Defence Volunteers, compiled in May 1940
19. Little Gaddesden Burial Register 1944, 1954, 1968
21. The ‘burnt documents’ were First World War documents that survived a fire in a War Office store caused by an incendiary bomb in September 1940. Charred and water-damaged, they were unfit for consultation until microfilmed in a large programme started in 1996. See https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C14567.
Do you have any questions about the information recorded here? Or do you have any further information that you can share with us about those from Little Gaddesden who died or fought for their country? In either case, please contact Jane Dickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson