No.2479, Rifleman, Richard HANCHETT
Aged 18

1st/5th Battalion, London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade)
Killed in Action on Saturday, 1st July 1916

Richard Hanchett was born in Stanstead, Suffolk on 10th September 1897 (Sudbury Q4-1897 4A:785), baptised in St James, Stanstead, on 10th October 1897, son of Edward and Maria HANCHETT (née EVERETT).

1901 census...Aged 3, he was at The Hall, Upper Street, Stanstead with his father Edward HANCHETT [43] farmer and miller; his mother Maria Kate [39] , born in Polstead, Suffolk; brothers Edward Everett [13], Benjamin Wakelin [11], Charles Richard[7] and Thomas Alfred [5]; sister Kathleen [12] and Martha Elizabeth [8]. All except his mother were born in Stanstead.

1911 census...Aged 13, he was a pupil at school in the Royal Asylum of St Anne's Society, Redhill, Surrey. His widower father, a rodent destroyer, was in Horseheath with Richard's sister Kathleen Maude. Brother Thomas [15] was a clerk (Commercial Wholesale Drapery), boarding at 22 Mecklenburgh Square, Grays Inn, London. His mother had died, in Horseheath, in 1903.

His elder brother Thomas was killed in action serving in Belgium in 1917 with the Royal Field Artillery see here

He enlisted in Sudbury, when resident in London. He is mistakenly attributed to the City Of London Regiment on the memorial in Horseheath.
July 1st 1916, the 1st day of the Battle of the Somme was a black day for the British Army, especially for the 1st/5th London Regiment. As part of the 169th Brigade 56th (1st London) Division. On the left of the attack at Gommecourt they were driven out of enemy trenches with heavy losses. In the report of Lt Col Bates after the battle he stated that assembling for action that day he had 23 officers and 803 other ranks. At 5:30 pm he could count only 89 unwounded men.

CWGC records give 275 killed, of which 219 have no known grave. The pension card attributes his death to being shot.

His name is mis-spelt on the medal index card.

Richard Hanchett is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial, pier and face 9D
and also on the war memorial at Belchamp St.Paul.

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

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