1. Memorial:Albert Communal Cemetery Extension
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.124
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour2C GQS

Awards & Titles:


See Old Elizabethans List

Early Life :

Ralph Hawtrey, registered as ‘Ralphe Hawtrey’ at Richmond, Surrey, son of Montague Hawtrey and Constance Maud (née Parr). At the 1881 census he was living with a great uncle at Clewer, New Windsor. In 1887 his mother married the Rev. William Campbell Penney, the Principal of Elizabeth College, at Bedminster. In 1889, he entered Elizabeth College and appeared on the 1891 census of the Channel Islands living at Elizabeth College. In the 1901 census of Wales he appears age 21 described as a Colliery Surveyor, boarding at Eglwysilan St Helen, Glamorgan.

Education & Career :

Lieutenant (TP) Ralph Hawtrey | 179th Tunnelling Coy., Royal Engineers | 03/09/1916
"Lieut. Hawtrey was a step-son of the present Principal of the College, where he was educated. He was well known in the field of sport, having captained the football team. When war broke out he was employed as a mining engineer in Siberia, whence he returned to England to join the Artists' Rifles. Later he obtained a commission in the 3rd Batt. Northamptonshire Regt., but was soon transferred to the Royal Engineers. On Sept. 2nd he was sent out, with a brother officer, on special duty. The next day they were both found dead, having accomplished their task.
The esteem in which his brother officers held him was indicated by a gift of £60 to his young widow "to buy a memorial present" - a very unusual compliment."
From a 1916 copy of "The Elizabethan" held at the Priaux Library, Guernsey.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 179th Tunnelling Company 

Check Pete Hawtin

Action : The Battles of the Somme 1916 

The Battle of the Somme 1st July - 18th November 1916 is inevitably characterised by the appalling casualties (60,000) on the first day, July 1st 1916. Having failed to break through the German lines in force, and also failed to maximise opportunities where success was achieved, the battle became a series of attritional assaults on well defended defence in depth. The battle continued officially until 18th November 1916 costing almost 500,000 British casualties. German casualties were about the same, and French about 200,000. The Somme could not be counted a success in terms of ground gained or the cost, but it had a strategic impact as it marked the start of the decline of the German Army. Never again would it be as effective whilst the British Army, learning from its experience eventually grew stronger to become a war winning army. The German High Command recognised that it could never again fight another Somme, a view that advanced the decision to invoke unrestricted submarine warfare in an attempt to starve Britain of food and material, and in doing so accelerated the United States declaration of war thus guaranteeing the eventual outcome. 287 Brethren were killed on the Somme in 1916.

In 1914 he was mining in Siberia and returned to the UK to enlist. He joined the Artists Rifles (28th Battalion London Regiment as a Private soldier (3209) on 20/1/15, age 35 yrs 6 months; height 5' 5 1/2“, giving his address as Elizabeth College, Guernsey and Royal Societies Club, St James St. His next of kin was given as his stepfather Rev. William Campbell Penney, Elizabeth College. On 22/4/15 he was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 8th (Reserve) Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. On 7/8/15 he married Doreen Erroll Stopford at Fulham. On 20/9/15 he arrived at 179th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers, based at Albert, France then engaged in mining in the La Boisselle sector. On 7/3/16 he was admitted to hospital. On 15/3/16 he was promoted temporary Lieutenant.

Detail :

He was killed in action on 3/9/16 by shell fire at High Wood after exploding a bored charged communication trench placed with a Sentinel Jack hydraulic borer. He was buried at Albert Cemetery. His widow’s address at the time of his death was Wykeham House, Romsey but she wrote to the War Office on 28/2/17 from Damans Cottage, Salisbury Lane, N. Romsey, Hants. His next of kin memorial plaque and scroll were sent on 28/2/1919 to Mrs Robins, 70 Great George Street, Hill Head, Glasgow. Correspondence in the service record file in the National Archives indicates that in 1930, his son Norman Hawtrey is to be taken to Australia by his guardian Major Richard Nunn Aylward, DSO MC, (late RE Signals) who was at present in India.

See further: The Channel Islands and the Great War

Start of the Somme battle. Involvement of Lt. Ralph Hawtrey : Probably Captain Kerr’s most important moment during the Great War was when he fired the mine at Y-Sap, just north of La Boisselle at 7:28 on 1 July 1916. That was the start of the dreadful first day of the Battle of The Somme, when so many men, including Colin Selwyn Brown (who had lived at Number 2 Midhope Road) lost their lives.
The Y-Sap and its corresponding mine, Lochnagar to the south of La Boisselle, simultaneously blew up 24 tons of ammanol between them, making huge craters. They were the largest mines, at the time, ever detonated and the sound of the blast was considered to be the loudest man-made noise up until that time. There were even reports that it was heard in London. Captain Kerr was assisted at Y-Sap by Lieutenant Ralph Hawtrey.

See: Surrey in the Great War

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Doyle's Lodge of Fellowship No. 84 E.C.Guernsey & Alderney

11th September 1912
9th October 1912

"Killed in action 2nd Sep 1916"

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2019-07-16 14:09:34