Ewert Joseph Amery

Private, M/296969, 635th Mechanical Transport ASC-cardCompany, Royal Army Service Corps, killed in action, 17th October 1917, aged 34.

Born at Crowle in January 1883, Ewart was youngest son of David and Evalyn Amery (nee Bates). His father was from Thorne and his mother from Crowle. When Ewart was born the family lived on the Moors, next to the Storey’s, but moved later to Chancery Lane.

Ewert was a partner with his father in the firm of D Avery & Son, farmers and peat moss litter manufacturers. A staunch Primitive Methodist he apparently held offices in the Primitive Methodist Society both locally and nationally. On 2nd August 1915 he married Sarah Ellen Isle in the Bourne Primitive Methodist Chapel, close to where they lived in Cross Street and the couple had one daughter, Evelyn, born in June 1916. A confidential letter to his tribunal alleged he only got married to avoid conscription, although he was married six months before conscription was introduced.

Ewert was called to attest in the army under the Military Services Act  on 24th June 1916, five days before his daughter was born, but appealed against this to the Crowle Tribunal because his work was of importance to the war effort. The Amery’s owned 50 acres of land in Crowle, 25 of which were farmed as arable land and 25 on which they conducted the peat moss business. According to Ewert the business produced 2000 tons of peat moss annually for the Army and munition use. Although they employed six men and four women, by the summer of 1916 Ewert was the only one fit for military enlistment. In addition to the farm work, Ewert also helped his 73 year old uncle, Thomas Wilcox, run his grocery business in North Street.

After two appeals the business was found to not be quite as productive as Ewart claimed it to be, nor was indispensible to it and he was ordered to report for enlistment at Scunthorpe on 14th February 1917. Here he was appointed to the Army Service Corps, Motor Transport Section. He trained at the ASC MT Depot in Grove Park, Lee, where he passed his Learner Driver instruction on, 19th February 1917.

In April 1917 he was posted to 635 MT Company, then serving in East Africa where he arrived on HMS Kent on 18th June 1917. The Company would have been responsible for the supply of goods, equipment and ammunition from the port at Dar-es-Salaam to wherever the troops in the field were. On the 15th October 1917, the two opposing armies in the East Africa campaign caught up with one another at Mahiwa. The battle which followed at Nyangao-Mahiwa, was indecisive and costly to both sides, the German’s loosing 519 German men and the British 2,700. Among them was Ewart Amery.

Ewert was initally buried near the battlefield site at Matandawalla. Following the end of the war he was moved to the War Cemetery at Dar-es-Salaam.

A memorial service was held for Ewart at the Primitive Methodist Chapel in February 1918. He is also remembered with an epitaph on his parents’ headstone in Crowle Cemetery:

‘Gone to a Higher Service’.