Rifleman Edward Whitfield Hatchett

Date of Birth c. 1888
Age at Death 27
Date of Death 16 September 1916
Service Number A/200180
Military Service 17th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps
Merton Address 169 Hartfield Road, Wimbledon
Local Memorial Rutlish School, Merton

Additional Information

Edward Whitfield Hatchett was born in Wimbledon on 18th February 1888 to Edward Henry Hatchett and Grace Edith Hatchett. The 1891 census shows him living with his parents and one year old sister Dorothy in 117 Hartfield Road, Wimbledon. His father was a Building Society manager. In 1901 Edward and his sister had two more siblings – Arthur aged 8 and Gladys aged 6 – and were living with their mother at 4 Mayfield Road, Wimbledon, the home of their grandmother Mary Ann Whitfield.

By 1911 Grace and the children had moved back to Hartfield Road, this time to number 169. Edward, now aged 23, was working as an auctioneer’s clerk. Grace was the head of the house, still on record as married although but her husband was not present. Edward was unmarried. His sister Dorothy was a private governess, Alfred was a ship broker’s clerk and Gladys was a typist.

Edward’s service record shows the he enlisted on 4.12.15 and was mobilised on 28.2.16 as a private in the City of London 4/5 battalion (London Rifle Brigade). He was posted on 28.2.16 and was transferred to 1/5 Rifleman on 10.7.16. Two months later he was transferred to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps 17th Battalion.

By the beginning of September, 1916, the Battle of the Somme had been raging for two months. Thousands of men had been killed or wounded or were simply missing. 17th King’s Royal Rifle Corps of 117 Brigade, 39th Division had suffered heavily during an attack on the River Ancre on 3rd September and had then been withdrawn to the back areas to reorganise and for further training. On 16th September they were in billets in Mailly-Maillet, not far enough back to escape the attention of the enemy artillery, when they were hit by two incendiary shells. One of these set light to one of the occupied billets and three men were killed as a result. One of these men was Edward Hatchett.

Rifleman Edward Hatchett is remembered on the Rutlish School memorial. He is buried at Communal cemetery extension at Mailly-Maillet, a village about 9 kilometres north of Albert. The extension was begun by French units (mainly Engineers) in June 1915. Commonwealth forces relieved the French. It contains 126 First World War burials.


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