John Hatton


This biography was written by Victoria Doran

The  Hatton family, who had lived in Wirral for many generations, lost several members to the war. John was one of the youngest of them.


Royal Garrison artillery cap badge

John Hatton (known as Jack according to newspaper reports) was born in 1896 in West Kirby, the 3rd and youngest son of the 8 children of Thomas Pyke Hatton and Alice Gouldson. His father was from Caldy and his mother was from West Kirby. As far back as the 18th century all his ancestors came from no further afield than Neston.

He was a second cousin of the brothers ALFRED HATTON and  WILLIAM HATTON, sharing a common set of great grandparents.

In 1891 the family were living in Beacon Road, West Kirby, next door to the family of THOMAS LUNT. The families followed similar lives, as in 1901 the Hattons were living at 30 Birkett Road, Jack’s father had died, and his mother was working as a laundress from home. By this time 14 year old Jack was working as a railway carriage cleaner.

His mother having died in 1910, Jack and his sister Nellie moved to 20 Birkett Road together and he was working as a carter for a team owner, probably Creer, the furniture remover.

On 28 May 1911, Jack married Fanny Edge from Wem, Shropshire in Shrewsbury. At the 1911 census Fanny was working as a domestic servant in a large house on Meols Drive, West Kirby. On 14 August 1912 they had a son John George, followed on 3 Feb 1914 by a daughter Florence Isabel.

By the time John attested on 11 Dec 1915, the family had moved to 13 Priory Mount, Everton and John was working as an oil seed crusher for Messrs. Bibby of Liverpool. He was initially placed on the Reserve.

On 13 June 1916, Jack was mobilised as a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery. After initial training at Weymouth, he was posted to 2017 Siege Battery on 7 September 1916, and a few weeks later the Battery was posted to the B.E.F.

DA 14 9 17.jpg

from the Deeside Advertiser dated 14 September 1917

“Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire. The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers. As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines. “


On 1 September 1917 Jack was killed instantaneously by a shell whilst carrying out his duties at the battery position in the evening.

He was a cheerful and willing soldier, greatly liked and respected by his comrades.

He is buried at Canada Farm Cemetery, Belgium and commemorated on his parents’ grave marker at St Bridget, West Kirby.

john hatton grave as jpeg.jpg

Birth: Jun 1886 at West Kirby
Death: 1 Sep 1917 in Belgium; killed by a shell
Addresses: Beacon Road, West Kirby (91); 30 Birkett Road, West Kirby (01); 20 Birkett Road, West Kirby (11);
Occupation: carter
Unit: 207 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery
Number and Rank: 102718; Gunner
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: Belgium : Canada Farm Cemetery ; WK St.B
Sources: GH, WK, CWGC, SR, MC, BN, DA, FT, Census: 91, 01, 11, BR



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