Private Emmanuel (Mandy) Berwitz


Berwitz (seated) with his brother Charles


Emmanuel Berwtiz was born on 27 November 1897 at 14 Carlisle Street, Belfast, the third of six children of Russian Jewish emigree and furniture retailer Louis Berwitz and his wife Augusta (nee Berwitz). By 1911 he was living with his parents, siblings and grandmother at 1 Kinnard Terrace, Belfast.

Berwitz enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 28 and 31 August 1914 (No.1050). He must have overstated his age, as he was just 16 at the time. On 20 January 1915 he embarked for France with a small reinforcement draft for A and C Squadrons. Berwitz was posted to C Squadron and assigned as orderly to the commanding officer, Lord Massereene.

In the early months of 1915 a photograph of Berwitz appeared in the Belfast Evening Telegraph (picture below), over the caption:

Four Belfast chums at the front with the North Irish Horse.- Standing from the left - Trooper Wilson Donaghy, late of 'Evening Telegraph' staff, now orderly to General Plumer; Troopers Mandy Berwitz and John Nixon, orderlies to Viscount Massereene and Ferrard, and (sitting) Corporal McClements.

Berwitz remained with the regiment throughout the war. He was transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve, on 27 January 1919. After the war he was an active member of the North Irish Horse Old Comrades Association.

After his father's death he played a prominent role running the family business. He died on 6 April 1955. The Belfast News-Letter reported:

Mr. Emanuel Berwitz, proprietor of the Central Furnishing Co., Upper North Street, Belfast, and of William Young & Co., Royal Avenue, died at his home, 81, Somerton Road, Belfast, on Wednesday. A member of the Jewish Ex-Servicemen's Association, he served with the North Irish Horse during the European war of 1914-18. He was a P.M. of Sholom Masonic Lodge. Mr. Berwitz is survived by his wife, Mrs. Doris Berwitz, and by one son and three daughters.




Berwitz's Great War service medals, and WWII Defence Medal


Berwitz's brother Charles (see picture above) also served in the war, as an officer in the of The King's (Liverpool) Regiment. He was accidentally wounded by a gunshot to the eye in August 1916.


Images 1 and 4 kindly provided by William Gordon. Images 2 and 3, from The Belfast Evening Telegraph, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (