Albert was born in Lewes in early 1891, the fourth child of William and Ellen Hewlett, nee Beard. At the time the family were living at 36 North Street and William was a sawyer in a saw mill. William and Ellen went on to have nine children in all, but three died very young.
On the 1901 and 1911 census the family were still living at 36 North Street and William had progressed to become a steam sawyer for a timber merchant. In 1911 Albert was listed as a baker’s assistant.
Albert married Eva May Smith in the Lewes district in mid 1914 and it is likely that the marriage occurred just prior to his enlisting. A daughter Evelyn was born, and died, in the first quarter of 1915.
Albert’s army papers no longer exist, but from other sources we know that he enlisted in the 8th Battalion the Royal Sussex Regiment in Lewes and was numbered G/1970. The 8th Battalion was a general service regiment and this is indicated by the ‘G’ as part of his number. His relatively low number would also suggest that he enlisted during 1914, but this is not confirmed.
The 8th Battalion were formed in Chichester in September 1914 and by February 1915 were training in Colchester as a pioneer battalion forming part of the 18th Division. They completed their training on Salisbury Plain in May 1915 and embarked for France, landing at Boulogne in July 1915. As Albert was entitled to the 1915 Star, in addition to the War and Victory medals, he would have formed part of this cohort.
The battalion fought on the Western Front throughout 1916 and 1917. A son, Ernest Frank, was born on 17/02/1917, suggesting that Albert had been back in Lewes during 1916.
Albert had now become a corporal. It is also known that he was wounded at least three times whilst in France.
He was transferred to the 1st Battalion the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment and renumbered G/24398. This number was issued in October 1917 and may indicate that Albert had been transferred following his recovery from an injury.
He was presumed killed in action on 21/09/1918 at the end of the Battle of Epehy, but has no known grave.
Albert is remembered on panel 3 of the Memorial at Vis-en-Artois, as well as the Memorial at St John sub Castro, the Lewes War Memorial, and the RSR Roll of Honour held in Chichester Cathedral.
Eva was now living at Hill Cottages, Plumpton Green and Albert is additionally remembered on the Memorial at All Saints Church Plumpton Green, and on the Roll of Honour inside the church.