HART, William Elijah

No.25508, Private, William Elijah HART
Aged 32

2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 26th December 1917

William Elijah Hart was born in 1885 in Fornham All Saints (Thingoe Q3-1885 4A:647), baptised in All Saints, Fornham All Saints on 4th October 1885, son of Samuel Elijah and Elizabeth HART (née GOOCH).

1891 census...Aged 5, he was with his grandparents William [49] and Alice GOOCH [46] at Batchelors Hall, Westley Road, Fordham All Saints. Brother Thomas [3] was at Frost's Court, Fornham All Saints with his mother Elizabeth HART [27] born Bury St Edmunds. His father, previously a wheelwright, was now a Sapper in the Royal Engineers in Aldershot.

1901 census... Aged 15, a farm labourer, he was at 2 Bridge Road, Fornham All Saints with his grandparents William and Alice GOOCH. Brother Thomas [13] a farm labourer, was at 7 Hengrave Road, Fornham All Saints with his mother. If his father was still in the Army he may well have been in South Africa.

1911 census...Aged 25, single, a labourer, he was with his widowed grandmother Alice in Fornham All Saints. His sister in law Bridget and nephew Archibald [2] were visiting, with his mother Elizabeth HART, and Leslie HART [10] born Shorncliffe, recorded as a grandson of Alice but his parentage is not known.

He married Eliza HOWES (b.5-11-1888) in 1911 (Bury St Edmunds Q4-1911 4A:1991). They lived in Fornham All Saints and had a daughter, Lydia Elizabeth (b.8-2-1912) and a son William (died in 1916, aged 1 year)

His younger brother Thomas died in France in October 1914. see here

Williamm, daughter Lydia and wife Eliza

He enlisted in Bury St Edmunds.
War Diary:-
Junction Camp - St Jean - 26-12-17 - The battalion paraded by companies and marched off to the line to relieve the 8th K.R.R. (14th Division) in the left subsector of the north Passchendaele front. The following was the order of march D;B;A; Headquarters and C Companies. D, B and A in the front line, C in reserve at VINE COTTAGE. D Company took over on the right front posts, B Company the centre posts and A company the left posts. The utmost difficulty was experienced during the relief. Owing to snow and a very bright moon the enemy saw our relieving party coming over the ridge and thinking we were going to attack put up an SOS which brought down a very heavy barrage; later the enemy machine guns and snipers necessitated the relief of the forward posts being done by crawling in twos and threes. Our casualties during the relief were 2 Lt MARTIN killed, Lt MURRAY wounded 9 OR killed and 14 wounded. Considering the great difficulty of the relief our casualties were slight.

Vine Cottage was a ruined Belgian farmhouse which masked a pill box with 18 inch concrete walls and six machine guns.It was just north west of Passchendaele, taken earlier in the month by the Canadians.

William Hart is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, panels 104 and 105

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details