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Henry George Hackman

Rank: Driver

Lifetime: 1881-1916

Reference: 136560


Basra War Cemetry, Iraq, where Driver Henry George Hackman is buried

Driver Henry George Hackman (136560) enlisted in the Corps of Royal Engineers and was sent to the Middle East where he died on 28th June 1916 and was buried at the Basra War Cemetery in Iraq. He left a widow with three children under ten.

Henry Hackman was born in Hampton Wick in the first three months of 1881 (Source: Register of Births). We can trace his life through his entries in the Censuses between 1891 and 1911. In 1891 he was living at 67 High Street, Hampton Wick with his parents Harry Hackman (36), a decorator, and Emma (31) who had been born in Hampton Wick. Ten years later he was still living with his parents on the High Street. By 1911 he had moved to Betteridge Stables, Lower Teddington Road. We learn that in about 1905 he had married his wife, Rebecca who was about five years older than him. They had three children (all born in Hampton Wick in rapid succession). They had first a daughter Kitty in 1906; then a son born in 1907 and, finally, another daughter, Dorothy, in 1908. His occupation, according to the 1911 Census, was as a carman. The whole family of five were crammed into two rooms in the Lower Teddington Road.

His Burnt Service Record held at the National Archives furnishes further details. By the time he enlisted at Kingston on 25 October 1915, the family had moved to 5 Downs Cottages, School Lane, Hampton Wick. As a carman by trade, his application to join the Royal Engineers as a driver was approved. Although his wife’s name is given as Rebecca in the 1911 Census, she is referred to as Kitty Hackman in the details of his next of kin given when he enlisted. Her maiden name was Kitty Pyle and she was a spinster when they married on Christmas Eve 1904 at Kingston Register Office. They had three children in successive years: Kitty Emma (named after her mother and grandmother) on 30 March 1906; Harry James (named after his grandfather) on 9 May 1907 and, finally, Dorothy May on 5 May 1908. From his medical, we learn he was 5’¾” tall with a chest measurement of 35” and weighed 123lbs with a distinguishing scar on the small of his back.

His service commenced on 25 October 1915. His service record suggests that he found military life during training somewhat irksome. He was subject to two minor charges during his training at Aldershot. On 22 March 1916 he was punished with 2 days’ confinement to barracks (CB) for the heinous offence of not being shaven by the 8.30am parade and on 1 April 1916 with 1 day’s CB for falling in three minutes late for a 6.00am general parade.

He embarked for Iraq as part of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force on 8 May 1916. Initially successful, by 29 April 1916 the British and colonial forces under General Townsend had been forced to surrender the city of Kut after a long siege with allied troops suffering starvation and terrible conditions for many months. Driver Hackman was presumably part of the effort to improve the supply infrastructure in Mesopotamia. Shortly after his arrival, Driver Hackman’s wife received a notice that he was missing. She continued to receive a Separation Allowance paid to a soldier’s dependant until she was awarded on 9 January 1917 a widow’s pension of 23 shillings a week for herself and her three children with effect from 8 January 1917.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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