William Henry HATCHER was Private 48297 in the 12th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. He was the third son of Edgar and Rosina Hatcher of Long Row, Hacheston of the ten sons serving the King to be killed. He died on the 2nd October, 1918, age 23 and is buried in Hooge Crater Cemetery, Ypres, Plot 20, row C.
William Henry was the ninth-born son of Edgar and Rosina. His birth is recorded in the second quarter 1895, Plomesgate, Suffolk. In the 1911 Census, William (then 15) is shown as a labourer on a farm. He was 18 when war was declared; he enlisted as Private 48297 in the 12th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. No service or pension record can be found, but it is known that the 12th Battalion was formed at Bermondsey and then moved to Witley to join the 122nd Brigade of the 41st Division. In February 1916 they moved to Aldershot and on 2nd May were mobilised for war and landed at Havre. They were engaged in various actions on the Western Front, including in 1916 the Battle of Flers-Courcelette and the Battles of the Transloy Ridges. In 1917 they were involved in action at Messines, Pilkem Ridge and the Battle of the Menin Road, followed by operations on the Flanders coast. In November 1917, the Battalion was moved to Italy to strengthen the Italian resistance, returning to France in May 1918. Other battles included St. Quentin, Bapaume, Arras and the Battle of Lys, the advance to Flanders and the Battle of Ypres and Courtrai. It is not known which of these battles William was killed in but he very nearly survived to the end of the war, losing his life on 2nd October 1918.
William's Battalion with the East Surrey Regiment was part of Kitchener's Army, the 12th fighting with distinction at Ploegsteert Wood. His parents would have posthumously received the Victory and British War medals awarded to William.
Grateful thanks are extended to Mrs Evelyn Empson of Framlingham for supplying much of the above information on William.
The following is a link to William's page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website from where you can download William's Commemorative Certificate.
David and Eileen Clough