Lance Corporal 6714 William Hackett

Hackett William 96 442x600Hackett William 96 399x600
Photograph and much of the detail courtesy of William's granddaughter, Christine Stewart.

Killed in Action on Thursday, 5th July 1917, age 32.
Buried in Grave I. D. 16. at Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

1st Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 24th Brigade of 8th Division.

Son of Joseph and Ann Hackett, of Dudley; husband of Florence Hackett, of Tipton.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Worcester, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 10th November 1914.
Medal entitlement: 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and Dudley Clock Tower memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/92807/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Hackett registered September quarter 1885 in Dudley, he was born on 24th June 1885.

1901 Census
6 School Street, Dudley, Worcs.
Joseph Hackett (49, Oliver Man, born Rowley), his wife Ann (51, Hawker (fish), born Dudley), and their children: Joseph (18, Oliver Man, born Dudley), William (15, Labourer in Ironworks, born Dudley), Shadrach (13, born Dudley), Edith (5, born Dudley) and Ann (3, born Dudley).

1911 Census
2 Court 6 House, Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
William Hackett (25, Moulder, born Dudley), his wife Florence (23, born Tipton), and their 2 children: Douglas William (1, born Tipton), and new baby (less than 1 month, born Tipton).

The baby born in 1911 was to be named Frederick, a further son was born in February 1914, he was named John, but known as Jack.

Personal Data

William Hackett's wife Florrie (nee Tibbs) was Christine's grandmother and my Great Aunt. Florrie, sometimes known as 'Duchy', appeared to be an unlucky woman. Her husband was killed in 1917, her brother Bill Tibbs and her cousin John Thomas Tibbs had already been killed in 1916 and her brother-in-law Harry Johnson (Nellie Tibbs' husband) had been invalided out of the Army Service Corps in early 1915 with a permanent partial ankle injury. Florrie re-married in 1920 to William George Crockett (known as George), but her second husband was killed as WW2 ended. He worked for Tipton Council, and was involved in erecting flag-pole for the V.E. Day celebrations when he fell from a ladder and died from his injuries.

The family story is that William Hackett was "a bit of a lad" using prize fighting to supplement (sometimes) his wages, and also some suggestion that he lost and re-gained his stripe on a number of occasions.

Christine's research at the Worcester's Regimental Museum found that his army number indicates that he had enlisted with the Worcesters in 1902 for either 5 or 7 years. Since he married Florence Tibbs on Christmas Day 1907 and took up work locally, it suggests a 5 year service.

On 29th July 1913, William re-attested with the 5th Battalion (Special Reserve) of the Worcesters. The Special Reserve had evolved out of the old County Militia, and reservists had 6 months military training and annual camps. In the event of war, they would be used to make up the numbers in the regular Army battalions. This was unlike the Territorials whose role was home defence before the vast majority voluntarily agreed to service abroad.

William was called up at the outbreak of war, entering France on 10th November 1914 with the 1st Worcesters. He was wounded at some stage and it is thought he may have been discharged as he lived back in Tipton and worked at Buller's Foundry, his pre-war employer. The family story is that he felt that he ought to be back with his mates and re-enlisted with the 1st Worcesters.

Action resulting in his death

In mid-June 1917, the 1st Worcesters had marched into the ruined city of Ypres and took over front-line duty at Hooge including Sanctuary Wood and endured four days of shelling. After a few days at Vancouver Camp near Vlamertinghe being used as working parties, they moved to Brigade Reserve in Ypres suffering shelling with twelve men killed or wounded.

At 10pm on the night of 5th July, the 1st Worcesters were relieved by the 2nd Royal Berkshire Regiment. As they marched out of Ypres towards Winnipeg Camp on the Ouderdam-Vlamertinghe road, near Vlamertinghe, they were caught in heavy German shell fire. The War Diary records that over 40 Worcesters men were casualties, with 8 being killed. Those killed were:

  • Privates CW Beach, H Topliss, JT Edgson, F De Vere, JE Bullingham,
  • Lance Corporal W Hackett,
  • Sergeant W Boxley, and
  • 2nd Lieut F C Kent (7th Worcesters, att 1st Worcesters).

All are buried in Plot 1 Row D of Belgian Battery Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery with the exception of 2nd Lt Kent who is buried in Plot 1 Row B.

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