Edward Valentine Hemelryk

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

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 DSO TD served in both World Wars. He died serving his country during the Belfast Blitz on 5th May 1941.

Hemelryk was born at Wavertree Lodge, Mill Lane, Wavertree, Liverpool, England. His date of birth was 9th September 1885. He was the son of Paulus Josephus Hemelrijk and Caroline Bertha Hemelrijk. His father was born on 11th February 1840 in Zuid-Holland, Leiden, Netherlands. His mother was born in January 1853 in West Derby, Lancashire, England. Paulus was also a decorated military man. An Orderly Room Sergeant, he was a Knight Commander of the Order of St George and Justice of the Peace.

Edward’s baptism came in the year of his birth in 1885. He had eleven siblings including Bertha Hemelryk and Eugene John Vincent Hemelryk.

Campbell College Military Hospital

Imperial War Museum Photo: No 24 British General Hospital suffered extensive damage during the Belfast Blitz. The main building at Campbell College, Belfast was bombed killing nineteen people. This photo features in the book 'Bodies In Our Backyard' by Elaine McClure.

Marriage to Norah Maccabe

Edward Valentine Hemelryk married Norah Frances Maccabe in 1912 at the age of 27. Norah was born in 1886 in Rock Ferry, Cheshire, England. The couple had five children together including Barbara Hemelryk and Diane Mary Hemelryk.

Edward Valentine Hemelryk was mentioned in the London Gazette on 6th November 1908 and 15th January 1909. The Gazette of 26th March 1909 carried a correction to his Christian names, which had been incorrect in prior publications. By 1909, Hemelryk was a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th West Lancashire (Howitzer) Ammunition Column.

Hemelryk rose through the ranks of the Royal Artillery to Captain in 1914, Major in January 1916 and to Lieutenant Colonel after the war in 1920.

Edward Valentine Hemelryk at War

His unit was mobilised on 4th August 1914 and made their way to France. They took part in the Battle of the Somme, Messines, Ypres, Cambrai and helped hold Givenchy with 55th West Lancashire Division. Hemelryk was wounded in France on 22nd April 1918 and mentioned in dispatches.

On 4th June 1917, The London Gazette posted news of the awarding of the Distinguished Service Order to EV Hemelryk. He was also awarded the Territorial Decoration. The Territorial Decoration was awarded in the United Kingdom for long service in the Territorial Force. This unit would later become the Territorial Army.

Records indicate that after the First World War, by 1925, Hemelryk – listed as a Lieutenant Colonel with the Royal Field Artillery lived ay Holme Leigh House, Walton Park, Liverpool.

Further mention in The London Gazette came on 14th May 1929. By now Hemelryk is a Colonel commanding the 87th (1st West Lancashire) Field Brigade of the Royal Artillery. He ceased command of the brigade on 30th August 1931.

Blitz damage at Campbell College

Imperial War Museum Photo: The Belfast Blitz of May 1941 devastated the No 24 British General Hospital at Campbell College, Belfast. The wards in the school grounds consisted mainly of Nissen huts. This photo features in the book 'Bodies In Our Backyard' by Elaine McClure.

The Belfast Blitz

Major Hemelryk served with the Pioneer Corps at the time of his death. He perished on 5th May 1941, one of nineteen people killed as the Luftwaffe bombed Campbell College Military Hospital. He was 56 years old. Edward Valentine Hemelryk had been working there in a medical capacity. This was the final Luftwaffe attack on Belfast in what became known as the Belfast Blitz.

Major Edward Valentine Hemelryk’s grave is in Glenalina Extension, Commonwealth War Graves Section of Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim.

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.

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