Hart, William George Thomas

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Mavis Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Connahs Quay

Name / Enw: Hart, William George Thomas

Regiment/Catrawd: 2nd Bn Essex Regiment

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 8323

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Ploegsteert Memorial

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panel 7

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Belgium

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory, British War and 1915 Star medals

Date of Death: 21st October 1914

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Killed in Action 21st October 1914

I couldn’t find any Army Service Records for William George Thomas Hart and there is no Flintshire WW1 Index Card for him, neither “Living” or “Fallen” either.  It was the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Citation that gave me the clue, I had previously pursued the wrong man, so my apologies for that, I hope I haven’t sent you on a wild goose chase!

William George Thomas Hart was born in Walthamstow, London, circa 1883 to Ann (Angelica) and Alfred Hart (nee Sawkings) who, I believe, were married in the June quarter of 1873 in Camberwell,(Vol. 1d, Page 1016).

The first census the family appear is the 1881 census when they were living at 34, Blythe Street, Bethnal Green, London. Alfred Hart, 28 was a Carman, born in Brixton, London. Ann, 31 was born in Lyminge, Kent. Their family were, sons, Alfred F.*, 9 born in Camberwell, Surrey, James A., 2, born in Bethnal Green, London. Daughters Mary Ann, 7, born in Brixton, London, Edith H., 4 and Ann G. 4 months old had been born in Bethnal Green, London.

*His elder brother Alfred Frank Hart emigrated to Canada circa 1916, I believe. His descendent, rchart58, whom I contacted through Ancestry, kindly gave me more details of William’s family on the 1891 census, as I had been unable to find them and also more details of William’s sisters, Many thanks to him for this information.

The 1891 census shows Alfred and Ann living at 37 Rippoth Road, Stratford le Bow, Middlesex, , Alfred is shown as 53, I think, the enumerator has a pencil mark through his age! He was a Stoker in a Chemical Works, wife Ann is now 42. Daughter Edith, 14 was born in Whitechapel, James, 12, was born in Bethnal Green as was Harriet, 2, both area’s of London. Son William, 7, had been born in Walthanstow, Essex.

1901 census shows they were living at 16, Lower Street, (Linford Est.), Mucking, Essex. Head of the household was Alfred Hart, 49, a General Labourer born in Brixton, London, his wife Ann, 51 had been born in Kent, their children were, daughter Edith, 24, son James, 22 a General Labourer in the Docks, daughters Harriet, 12 and Florence 9, all born in London, son William, 17 was a Road Labourer, born in Essex. Alfred’s sister-in-law, Emily Dale, 54 and a widow who was a Monthly Nurse (Sick) was also in the household.

The family moved to Flintshire by the 1911 census for they are living at 31, Alexandria Street, Shotton, Flintshire described by Alfred as a Tenement (4 rooms). Alfred, 59 a Caretaker at a C, School (Council?) tells us that he and wife Ann, 62, born in Lyminge, Kent, had been married 41 years, 9 children had been born to them, but sadly1 had died, this would have been Edith who died in 1909 (Flintshire (Mold) HAW/05A/55). Their daughter Harriet, 22 single and possibly her child, their grandson, Thomas age 3 who had been born in Shotton, Flintshire.

By 1911 William, 27, who had enlisted into the Army at some point, was in India a Private in the 1st Essex Regiment and he was described as a “Dog Killer”, born in Walthamstow.   There may have been feral dogs in and near the barracks and that might be the reason the Army had a Dog Killer, thanks to my friends on the Army Forum, either by trapping, poisoning or shooting, if so then William was probably a qualified ‘First Class Shot’ – Marksman.

They moved house at some point as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission additional information was – Son of Alfred and Angelica Hart and tells us their address circa 1921 was 16, Crossway Council Houses, Shotton, Chester.

As William had previously been in the Army, so probably was a Reserve, so would have been one of the first to be sent abroad, as can be seen from his date of death which was 21st October 1914.

William Hart in the UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919 tells us that he was born in Walthamstow, Essex and his residence was Shotton. It confirms his Regimental details above. His enlistment place was Warley Essex, which fits in with his previous Army Service.

William Hart in the UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 tells us that the s Sole Legatee was his father Alfred who was paid £7. 2s 9d on the 15th April 1915 and his War Gratuity of £5 on the 26th January 1920. However written was – War Gratuity not admiss. Under 6 months Service. – I think there was a rethink – they perhaps considered his previous service – as another soldier underneath this entry also was paid later after the same thing was written on his entry. They were ex- Servicemen.

W Hart in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 does not tell us where his first Theatre of War, but he entered it on the 31st August 1914. He was killed 3 weeks later. He along with Benjamin Dutton who died on the 28th December,(at home, he was the first Serviceman to be buried with honours in Shotton) and Robert Speed, who died on the 30th October 1914 (Incidently his Reglt. No. was 8389, so was the 63rd man after William ) and were the first men, that I know of, locally to have been killed after the war started. Please click on the links to read their stories.

According to the St. Deniol’s Parish Registers William’s mother, Ann was buried in Hawarden on the 28th July 1932 age 83 years (Page25, No. 199), her address was Shotton.    His father Alfred was buried on the 20th April 1949 age 97 years, his address was given as 26, North Street, Shotton. (Page 8 No. 64).

William is also remembered on the St. Ethelwold’s Church Memorial Screen that is on the left hand side of the altar.