Sir Edward Gerald Hawkesworth, K.C.M.G., M.C.

Sir Edward Gerald Hawkesworth, K.C.M.G., M.C. (B:16th August 1897 – D:14th August 1949) Was appointed the governor and commander in chief of British Honduras and had succeeded Sir. John A. Hunter K.C.M.G from January 14th 1947 to June 1948. When he retired due to poor health, Sir Ronald H. Garvey succeeded him. Sir Hawkesworth dedicated 32 years of his life to the military and Colonial Service, entering at the middle of the First World War in 1916, when he was only 19 years old, as a 2nd Lieutenant Grenadier Guards in France.

“A very thick fog covered the ground which made it difficult for the tanks to find their way. Lieutenant Hawkesworth started off with No. 3 Company supported by one tank, but when he reached the neighborhood of Bank’s Trench, the tank broke down, and when the fog lifted, he found that he only had forty men quite unsupported. Unfortunately at this point he was badly wounded” – The Grenadier Guards, in the the Great War of 1914 – 1918, by Lieutenant Colonial Sir. Fredrick Ponsonby.

On the 23rd, 24th and 25th August 1918, the Brigade carried out a united offensive against the Germans and did so with great success. They gave their finest exhibition in the war. They had captured some 250 German prisoners and seized assorted weapons including machine guns and trench mortars. It was all earned in blood as they had lost 13 officers and 258 men of other ranks. E.G. Hawkesworth was injured in the battle of Cambrai, but he recovered and returned to finish the war 2 months later as a lieutenant of the 5th Battalion Grenadier Guards. For his actions of bravery, he received the Military Cross and was promoted.

After the war, Hawkesworth went to Queens College Oxford for 2 years and then immediately joined the Colonial Service, a service that the British government had to manage British-occupied territories. He later went to the southern provinces in Nigeria in May 1921 as an Administrative Cadet, and for the next 19 years, he served within this territory. Over the years, he was promoted as he changed from one Province to the other. Some places where he served were Enugu, Ogojo, Ijebu, Benin and Lagos, among other areas. After 19 years, he took a short break and later returned as the Chief Commissioner of the Gold Coast, Ashanti, West Africa. He remained there for 5 years. On 2nd June 1943 he is promoted to Companions, of the said Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. Thus, he then used the CMG sufix.

In February 1946, he was appointed Governor of British Honduras, but did not take office until one year later. On 14th January 1947, he arrived to the country on the HMS Kenya. He was also promoted to Knight Commander of the most distinguished order of St. Michael and St. George, on 1st January 1948, after which he formally carried “Sir” as his prefix and the K.C.M.G on the sufix of his name. With Guatemala standing on their claim over Belize and after the escalating threat of invasion of British Honduras, the British ordered the HMS Sheffield that was stationed in Cartegena, Colombia and the HMS Devonshire stationed in Jamaica. Both armed and with Royal Marines sailed to British Honduras. Upon arrival, Adm. Sir William Tennant conferred with Sir Gerald Hawkesworth. These actions were taken by Guatemala’s foregin minsitry as “armed provocation” but later an announcement was made by the British Naval authorities that they were doing nothing more than protecting British lives and property, although Marines were dispatched to the airport and to various points of the West.

Unfortunately, he did not spend much time in Belize, just over a year, since by June of 1948, he retired from his post because of poor health. Sir Hawkesworth left Belize on July 28th 1948 at 11:35 a.m. There was a long motorcade that left from the Governor’s House Belize City towards the airport. The Guards of Honor, 2nd Gloster Regiment, the local army, Drum Corps and a detachment of the police force were present and waiting for the departing of the Chief Commander. He bade ferwell to everyone by shaking their hands. He departed to Jamaica where we was for a few days before he returned to London, England where he was a guest and stayed at the King’s House. One year later, on 14th August 1949, Sir E. G. Hawkesworth was found dead on the pavement outside a house in Holland Park Avenue, London. He had apparently fallen from a third floor window. News of the sudden death of the 52 year old war veteran was heard all over the British colonies. Six days after his passing, on 20th August 1949, Ronald Herbert Garvey, C.M.G M.B.E., Governor of British Honduras, inaugurated a suspension bridge in San Ignacio, Western Belize, and as a tribute to the former governor, he named it Hawkesworth Bridge.

 

Acknowledgements

Thank You so very much for your help, most of the information was very difficult to find because its very scattered it all came down to hours of reading and sorting.

Belize Archives Department Belmopan City, Belize C.A.

The Daily Clarion Vol L-NO. 224 August 15th 1949 editor Philip Woods

The Grenadier Guards, in the the Great War of 1914 – 1918, by Lieutenant Colonial Sir. Fredrick Ponsonby.

The Glasgow Herald, George Outram & Co.

Supplement to the London Gazette, 2nd June 1943

Supplement to the London Gazette, 1st January 1948

British Colonial Governors since 1900

Kingston Gleaner, Kingston Jamaica Thursday July 29th 1948

Thomas Dailly, compilation of the chronological affairs of Sir E. G. Hawkesworth

Lucy McCann, Archivist
Bodleian Library of Commonwealth & African Studies at Rhodes House

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1 thought on “Sir Edward Gerald Hawkesworth, K.C.M.G., M.C.”
  1. Good to know cause all along we thought or was said the the bridge was made in Hawkesworth England and was build there and brought here via military air.

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