Chaplain 4th Class, The Rev. Hatton Bertram St. John de Vine

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Hatton's entry on the WW1 memorial at King Edward's School, Edgbaston.

DeVine Harold JesusCollege
Hatton's entry on the WW1 memorial at Jesus College, Cambridge.

Killed in Action on Thursday, 27th April 1916, age 34.
Buried in Grave II. G. 29. at Vermelles British Cemetery, Pas De Calais, France.

Army Chaplains' Dept., attd 10th Bn., Gordon Highlanders. 44th Brigade of 15th Division.

Son of the Rev. Wilson T. de Vine, M.A., R.D., Vicar of St. Martin's, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Milton, Staffs, Enlisted: Unknown, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 22nd May 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, King Edward's School, Edgbaston, and Jesus College, Cambridge Memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/251396/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Hatton Bertram St J Devine registered September quarter 1881 in Stone.

1901 Census
1 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Wilson T. de Vine (49, Widower, Clergyman, born Southampton), and his 4 children: Arthur W.S. (22, born Northwood, Staffs), Hatton B.J. (18, born Milton, Staffs), Cecil N. (17, born Milton, Staffs) and Norah E. (11, born Milton, Staffs).

1911 Census
1 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Wilson Thomas de Vine (59, Widower, Clergyman, born Southampton), and 1 of his 4 surviving children of 5: Hatton Bertram St. John (28, Solicitor, born Stone).

Personal Data

The Reverend de Vine had qualified and practiced as a Solicitor. He decided that his future lay in the Church and spent 4 years at of Jesus College, Cambridge, and was subsequently ordained in 1913. He served as Curate of St Philips, Birmingham until the outbreak of war in 1914.

His brother, Cecil Norman de Vine, was also a Chaplain in the Army. He was 'Mentioned in Dispatches' in Haig's despatch of 7 November 1917 (London Gazette 24th December 1917, Page 13490). His Medal Index Card suggests that he may also have won the Military Cross.

From the King Edward's School WW1 exhibition 2014...
“Hatton Bertram St John De Vine, born on 3rd July 1881, was admitted to King Edward’s School in September 1895 along with his brother Cecil. Their widowed father was a minister, and the family lived in ‘The Vicarage’, Tipton. At School, Hatton was a steady student, reliably appearing mid-table in general work and French, but did less well with science.”

On the East wall of the Royal Garrison Church of All Saints in Aldershot, Hants is the Memorial to the Royal Army Chaplains Department, this contains the name: H B St J De Vine.

After Hatton's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £43/10/0d (43 pounds and 10 shillings). This was paid to his father and administrator, Rev. Wilson Thomas De Vine, in September 1916. He left his estate of £468 to his father. His eldest brother, Dr. A. De Vine, requested Hatton’s medals at the end of the war.

Probate over Hatton's estate was granted to his father, The Reverend Wilson Thomas de Vine: "DE VINE the Reverend Hatton Bertram St. John, of The Vicarage, Tipton, Staffordshire, Clerk and of the 10th Gordon Highlanders, British Expeditionary Force, Army Chaplain, died 27 April 1916 at Vermelles in France. Administration Lichfield 17 August to the Reverend Wilson Thomas de Vine, Clerk. Effects £468 8s."

Action resulting in his death

Reverend deVine was first associated with the West Riding Regiment in England, but was attached to a Stationary Hospital upon his arrival in France in May 1915. He was later attached to the 10th Gordon Highlanders who did not enter France until early July 1915. In late April 1916, his Division was involved in German gas attacks near Hulluch, where de Vine was killed by an exploding shell on 27 April 1916, aged 36; he is buried at Vermelles British Cemetery.

The War Diary entry for 27th April 1917 contains the following tribute to Rev. de Vine. This must be a heartfelt tribute as the War Diary is not written to console greiving pareents, but to be a record of the activities of the Battalion.
"Hostile shelling in Vermelles started at 4am and was intense till 7am when gas and smoke cloud came over. This lasted about ¾ hour and even in Noyelles the cloud took some time to pass. Hostile shelling slackened but was continued intermittently all morning. Many “tear” shells were put over and these seemed to be worse than the gas, as the eye goggles are not good, the gas mask on helmet is very good an complete protection.
The only casualty was the padre attached to the Battalion, Captain the Rev. H.B. St John de Vine. He was killed in Vermelles about 100 yards from his dugout, which he had left to go and see that the men were under cover and had their gas masks ready. His end was a fitting one; he was forever looking after the men, helping all ranks and in the places of danger, always in the front line and generally distributing cigarettes. Never sparing himself, where the men were, there he was.
The whole battalion mourns his loss, he was loved by all particularly “I” Company, for some reason he had attached himself to them and lived with the officers of that Company.
He was killed in Vermelles at the cross-roads about 250 yards North West of the ruined church, and he will be buried in Vermelles Cemetery.

W.W. MacGregor Lt. Colonel
10th Gordon Highlanders."

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald May 6th 1916
The sympathies of Tipton people will go out to the Vicar (Rev. W.T. deVine) who has lost the elder of his two soldier sons. The three sons of Mr deVine were all distinguished for exceptional abilities of head and heart. The eldest of the trio is a physician.
The Rev. W.T. de Vine, M.A. (Rural Dean, Vicar of St. Martin's Parish Church, Tipton) has received a telegram signed by Lord Kitchener, stating that his second son, Captain Hatton Bertram St.John de Vine (aged 32), an Army Chaplain, had been killed in action. The Captain, who was well known in Birmingham and Tipton, was educated at Stone Grammar School and the High School, Birmingham. He was afterwards articled to Messrs Fowler, Langley and Wright, Solicitors of Wolverhampton. He qualified as a Solicitor, and practiced in the profession for about a year. He subsequently decided upon a career in the Church, proceeding to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he remained for about four years. About three years ago he was ordained, and was appointed Curate at Birmingham Cathedral, and Chaplain of the General Hospital, Birmingham. He took much interest in the Birmingham Street Children's Union, in connection with which he had charge of the senior club.
Directly after the outbreak of war, he volunteered as a Chaplain in the Army, and was attached to the West Riding Regiment. In May of last year he proceeded to France, and for some time was at a stationary hospital. Subsequently he was attached to the 10th Gordons, with whom he remained up to the time of his death.
Lieut. J.B. Wood has written to the bereaved Vicar saying that his son, Capt de Vine, was killed by shell at Vermelles. The enemy were bombing with gas and other shells, and he had left the shelters to visit the men to cheer them up. Directly afterwards, he was struck by a shell and instantaneously killed. The writer adds: "It has not been my privilege before to meet a man so absolutely beloved by all who came into contact with him. There was not a man in the 44th Brigade who did not know, love, and admire him. When he came to our Battalion, he was attached to our company, and he has been with us ever since in sunshine and shower, in trench and in billet.
The Vicar of Tipton has another son, Cecil Norman de Vine, who is Chaplain of the 50th Brigade, R.F.A., and is also in France.
The deceased's brother sends the Vicar an extract from a letter which he received from Major Longman, who for some time commanded the 10th Gordons. He says: "I have only known him for about six months, but I can honestly say that I loved him, and I don't think we ever met a more charming personality, or one who was at the same time more transparently honest and good. He was always cheerful, and no trouble was too much for him. To me, personally, he was the very greatest help, and when one was with him it was just impossible to think anything mean or bad. I suppose he was the most popular person in the Brigade, and God knows that he never sought popularity, but simply and solely that he was such a lovable character that everyone who knew him had to love him.
One of the other Chaplains, in writing to the Vicar, giving an account of the funeral, says: "We buried him close to where he fell, in the British cemetery on Friday April 28th. The body was carried to the grave by officers of the Regiment, with firing party and pipers, with officers and men representing every unit in the Brigade. The service was conducted by the senior Chaplain, and Chaplains of all denominations were present. He lies near where many are interred that he knew, and probably buried. We feel he would rather be laid there than further back from the line. He was one of the bravest men I have met, always cheerful, and a tremendous worker. I don't know how I shall get on without him. He had great influence with both officers and men of this Brigade. Only ten days before his death he presented 19 N.C.O.s and men from the two regiments for confirmation."

Tipton Herald May 5th 1917
On Monday evening at the Parish Church, Tipton, an attempt was made for a muffled peal of Steadman Triples to the memory of Bertam St John de Vine (son of the vicar), who fell in action on April 17th 1916, also to Thomas Gould, organist of Vicar's Sunday Afternoon Bible Class, and all others who had given their lives for their King and Country's honour, including Dr. Naylor. After two hours and ten minutes of good ringing, the peal unfortunately came to grief through a change course.

The Times, Thursday, May 4, 1916. p 4 Obituaries
The Rev. Hatton Bertram St. John de Vine, Chaplain to the Forces, who was killed on April 27, aged 32 (wrong - was 34 JAS 1881), was the son of Rev. W. T. de Vine, Vicar of Tipton. He was educated at Stone Grammar School and the High School, Birmingham, and after serving his articles with Messrs. Fowler, Langley, and Wright, of Wolverhampton, qualified as a solicitor. He practiced for about 12 months, and afterwards went to Jesus College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1913. In that year he was ordained, being appointed curate at Birmingham Cathedral. On the outbreak of war he volunteered for service as an Army Chaplain, and was attached to the West Riding Regiment, and subsequently to a Scottish Regiment. An officer wrote to Mr. de Vine only a few weeks ago:- " He is one of the bravest men I ever expect to meet. His human kindliness and consideration, his unobtrusive familiarity with all ranks, make him beloved of all the men. Perhaps he is the last person they would like to see shot. And he goes anywhere, at any time, where there are men, whether in billets or in saps. Sometimes he is up all night, passing along the lines with a cheery presence and a pack loaded with cigarettes. While on trek he marches with the brigade, walking every step of the way, though entitled to a horse, carrying a pack like the rest of us, and lending a hand with a rifle or two towards the end of the day. He has been within whispering distance of the Boche, too, gathering identification disks from the dead between the lines. If there is a 'strafe' on, depend on it he will be there. What a fine officer he would make. He could have done worlds with a company." In a letter announcing the death of Mr. de Vine the same officer says: "He was a brother amongst us ... There is no man I would sooner have beside me when hell is let loose then de Vine."