Edward Valentine Hemelryk

Edward Valentine Hemelryk died on 5th May 1941 as No. 24 British General Hospital at Campbell College, Belfast, Co. Down came under Luftwaffe attack.

Major

Edward Valentine Hemelryk

22423

Major Edward Valentine Hemelryk served with the Pioneer Corps in 1941 when he died during the Belfast Blitz. He had already received a DSO in World War One.

Major Edward Valentine Hemelryk (22423) DSO TD served in the Pioneer Corps during World War Two. Born on 9th September 1885, he was the son of Paulus Josephus Hemelrijk and Caroline Bertha Hemelrijk of Wavertree Lodge, Mill Lane, Wavertree, Liverpool.

Paulus Josephus Hemelrijk was born on 11th February 1840 in Zuid-Holland, Leiden, Netherlands. He was a decorated Orderly Room Sergeant, Knight Commander of the Order of St. George, and a Justice of the Peace. Caroline Bertha Hemelrijk was born in January 1853 in West Derby, Lancashire. Edward had 11 siblings including Bertha Hemelryk and Vincent Hemelryk.

In 1912, Edward married Norah Frances Maccabe in Rock Ferry, Cheshire. The couple had 5 children including Barbara Hemelryk and Diane Mary Hemelryk.

Grave of Edward Valentine hemelryk

WartimeNI Photo: The headstone marking the grave of Major Edward Valentine Hemelryk who served in the Pioneer Corps. Photo taken on tour of Belfast City Cemetery with Peter McCabe in Spring 2017. Copyright Scott Edgar - WartimeNI.

Military Career

The London Gazette listed Hemelryk on 6th November 1908 and 15th January 1909. On 26th March 1909, they corrected his first names, incorrect in the prior issues. By 1909, Hemelryk was rising through military ranks. He was a 2nd Lieutenant in 4th West Lancashire (Howitzer) Ammunition Column. By 1914, he was a Captain in the Royal Artillery.

On 4th August 1914, his unit departed for France. They took part in battles at The Somme, Messines, Ypres, and Cambrai. Along with 55th West Lancashire Division, they helped hold the town of Givenchy. January 1916, saw Edward promoted to Major before he sustained injuries on 22nd April 1918. During this time, he received a Distinguished Service Order and a Territorial Decoration. This made the London Gazette on 4th June 1917. The TD was an award for long service in the Territorial Force, a forerunner of the Territorial Army.

By 1925, records show Hemelryk living at Holme Leigh House, Walton Park, Liverpool. By then he was a Lieutenant Colonel with the Royal Field Artillery. On 14th May 1929, Colonel Edward Hemelryk took command of 87th (1st West Lancashire) Field Brigade. He held this position until 30th August 1931.

The Belfast Blitz

He died on 5th May 1941 aged 55 years old when Campbell College, Belfast, Co. Down came under Luftwaffe attack during The Fire Raid of the Belfast Blitz.

On the night of 4th-5th May 1941, a total of 19 people died when bombs hit No. 24 British General Hospital based at the East Belfast grammar school.

Edward Valentine Hemelryk’s grave is in Glenalina Extension, Section CS, Grave 87 of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim.

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