Photograph & Newspaper Article courtesy of Mike Royden's excellent article about the Hardwick brothers. To see this, click: hardwick.pdf
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 5th September 1917, age 19.
Commemorated on Panel 23 to 28 and 163A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
2nd/6th Bn., Royal Warwickshire Regiment. 182nd Brigade of 61st Division.
Formerly 40337 South Lancashire Regiment.
Son of William and Caroline Hardwick, of 8, Woodfield Rd., Ellesmere Port, Birkenhead.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Chester, Resident: Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.
Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial, but commemorated on the Christ Church and Civic Memorials, Ellesmere Port.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.
Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/838454/
Birth of Samuel Hardwick registered June quarter 1898 in Dudley.
4 Nock Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Hardwick (30, Labourer in Ironworks, born Oldbury), his wife Caroline (30, born Warrington), and their 4 children: Phylis (8, Scholar, born West Bromwich), Reuben (6, Scholar, born West Bromwich), William (4, Scholar, born Tipton), and David (2, born Tipton).
9 Nock Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Hardwick (41, Brick Burner, born Oldbury), his wife Caroline (42, born Warrington), and their 7 children: Reuben (17, General Labourer, born West Bromwich), William (14, born Tipton), David (12, born Tipton), James (10, born Tipton), Joseph (8, born Tipton), Harry (5, born Tipton), and Samuel (3, born Tipton).
8 Woodfield Road, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire.
William Hardwick ( 54, Brick Burner, born Tipton), his wife Caroline (55, born Tipton), and 7 of their 9 surviving children of 10: Reuben (27, Iron Worker, born Tipton), William (25, Iron Worker, born Tipton), James (20, Gardener, born Tipton), Joseph (18, Iron Worker, born Tipton), Harry (16, Stone Mason, born Tipton), Samuel (14, School, born Tipton), and Caroline (8, School, born Tipton).
The Hardwick family moved to Ellesmere Port sometime between 1903 and 1911, as their daughter Caroline was born in Tipton in 1903. This was a common migration route as 10 men remembered on this Tipton web site were living in Ellesmere Port when they joined the army. The men were attracted by similar industries to those found in their native Black Country, such as the Mersey Iron Works established in Ellesmere Port in 1905 by the Wolverhampton Corrugated Iron Co Ltd.
There were 9 surviving children in the Hardwick family by 1911, 7 sons and 2 daughters. The outbreak of war roused patriotic feelings in the Hardwick family, and all 7 sons volunteered for service in the army. The article below from the Birkenhead and Cheshire Advertiser and Wallesey Guardian, dated 11th September 11 1918, gives details of the outcomes of their service, but in summary:
- 1 killed – Samuel during 3rd Battle of Ypres, 5th September 1917
- 2 taken prisoner of war – William and Joseph
- 2 wounded – David (severely) and Jim (3 times)
- 1 discharged without service overseas – Reuben
- 1 discharged after being gassed – Harry
Samuel joined the army during or after September 1916, when he was aged 18. At this time the minimum age for conscription was 18, so he may have volunteered or been conscripted. It was also in September 1916 when the concept of training with the individual Regiments was abandoned and the national Training Reserve introduced.
It is likely that Samuel trained with the Training Reserve, possibly the 51st Battalion which had taken over from the South Lancashire Reserve battalions. After training, Samuel served with the South Lancashire Regiment, before being transferred to the 2/6th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment as part of the 61st (2nd South Midlands) Division.
After Samuel's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/18/10d (1 pounds, 18 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his mother, Caroline, at his father's request, in March 1918. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Samuel had enlisted in the 12 months prior to his death.
For the first half of August 1917, the 2/6th Royal Warwicks had been training at Rubrouck in France, about 20 miles west of Ypres. On 16th August the battalion moved by train to Brandhoek, about 4 miles west of Ypres, where they did further training and provided working parties. The battalion was at full strength, with 39 Officers and 953 Other Ranks.
By the end of August, the 2/6th Royal Warwicks were in Support, just north of Ypres, before taking over a sector of the front line on the evening of 2nd September. This was in the general area of Hill 35, about 3 miles north-east of Ypres and 1 mile south of St Julien.
The slope of Hill 35 was strategically important as it runs up to the Graventafel Ridge, 3 miles north-east is Passchendaele – the ultimate objective for the Third Battle of Ypres. The slope was strongly defended by German positions in reinforced farm buildings, especially machine gun emplacements at Gallipoli Farm and Schuler Galleries.
A first attempt at the capture of Hill 35 was made at 10pm on 3rd September. This failed due to intense German machine gun fire on 3 sides, and the 2/6th Royal Warwicks had returned to their starting lines by midnight; they had 13 men killed on 3rd September, and a further 5 men killed on 4th September.
A further attempt was made at 8.45pm on 5th September, after the German positions had been shelled for much of the day. The attack again suffered from German machine gun fire, but some of the second and third waves reached the German positions where there was severe fighting. German artillery fire made it difficult to re-supply and reinforce the attacking troops, and the 2/6th Royal Warwicks were forced to withdrew at about 11.30pm.
The War Diary recorded 13 killed, 56 wounded and 7 men missing. Modern day records show that during the 5th and 6th September, a total of 27 men from the 2/6th Royal Warwicks lost their lives. The vast majority of these men, including Samuel Hardwick, have no known grave and are commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.
IF you require further detail, the following is a transcription from the War Diary of the 2/6th Royal Warwicks.
5th September 1917
6-inch and 8-inch howitzers shelled HILL 35 all day and harassing fire was brought to bear on the German gun emplacements by 18-pounders. It was determined to make another attempt to capture the gun emplacements on HILL 35 after dark. A creeping 18-pounder barrage was to be employed this time. ZERO was at 8.45pm.
Before ZERO, ‘B’ Company (Capt. B.R. Saunders) deployed into assault formation to the East of POMMERN CASTLE.
At ZERO the 18-pounder barrage opened on a line roughly half way between POMMERN CASTLE and the gun emplacements.
At ZERO +5 minutes, the barrage lifted onto the emplacements and ‘B’ Company followed it.
At ZERO +10 minutes, the barrage lifted off the objective and remained on its protective line till ZERO +2 hours.
On the barrage lifting off the objective, ‘B’ Company assaulted. The assault was much broken up by Machine Gun fire, but some portion of the 2nd and 3rd waves actually reached the emplacements. Severe fighting ensued which lasted an hour, when, in response to a second S.O.S. sent up by the enemy, a heavy barrage was put around the Northern and Western sides of the emplacements and about 50 yards from them. This barrage was additional to the one put down on the line POMMERN CASTLE – BANK FARM, and the sending up of assistance ‘B’ Company extremely difficult.
Small parties of ‘B’ Company still persisted in trying to effect and entrance into the emplacements and pill-boxes in the rear, but machine gun fire from the enemy prevented this.
‘B’ Company was eventually withdrawn to POMMERN CASTLE about 11.30pm.
Our casualties were: Other Ranks: Killed: 13 Wounded: 56 Missing: 7
At 1.00am on the next day, the 2/6th Warwicks were relieved from the front line, and moved back into the Right Support line.
Birkenhead and Cheshire Advertiser and Wallesey Guardian 11th September 11 1918
PATRIOTIC ELLESMERE PORT FAMILY.
SEVEN SONS GIVEN TO THE ARMY.
Of the many patriotic families in Ellesmere Port the record of Mr. and Mrs. Hardwick of Ashfield Road, stands out prominently, for they have given each of their seven sons to the service of King and country.
Of the number, the youngest son (Editor: not named in article, but youngest son was Samuel) was killed 12 months ago. Before he joined the army – in the first days of the war, as in the case of his brothers - he worked at Burnell’s, and was a well-known youth.
The eldest son, Reuben, aged 35, wears the honourable silver badge of a discharged soldier, and although he volunteered his services for the cause of freedom, he was the only one of the seven brothers who did not go into action.
William, aged 33, joined the 8th Irish (Editor: this is the 8th Bn., King's (Liverpool Regiment)), and was captured prisoner in the battle of the Somme in 1916. A married man, he left one child behind, and was formerly a bar dragger, but employed at the Mersey Ironworks.
David, who also joined the 8th Irish like William, was a bar dragger, but employed at the Mersey Ironworks. He was in France almost three years before the German Spring Offensive in which he was wounded, gassed and severely burned. He is now in a convalescent hospital in London.
Jim joined the Scots Guards, and formerly was employed under the Surveyor’s Department. He too has seen three years’ service in France, and has been thrice wounded. He has just returned to his depot after spending a well-earned leave, and is awaiting another draft to France.
Harry left his work as a marker at the Mersey Ironworks, and has been in France three years, where he was on one occasion seriously gassed.
Joe, another married son with two children, also employed as a marker at Burnell’s, was taken prisoner by the Germans at the opening of their Offensive in March.