Reproduced by kind permission of Mrs Carolyn Smith who has researched the history of the men listed on the War Memorial.
A service was held at 2.30pm on Sunday the 6 February 1921 at St Peter and St Paul parish church Hannington. The following account appeared in the Northampton Herald, of the 18 February 1921- “The memorial tablet to the men of Hannington who fell during the Great War 1914-18 was unveiled on Quinquagesima Sunday by Sir Charles Frederick Bart. It is of grey marble and gives the name of each man and the regiment in which he served. There was a short service commencing with the Dead March in “Saul” followed by prayers and hymn 538 “They whose course on earth is o’er.” The memorial was then unveiled; and Sir Charles Frederick spoke a few appropriate words after which the bugler sounded the “Last Post.” This was followed by Hymn 499 “On the Resurrection Morn,” the Apostle Creed and Collect and the Grace. The bugler sounded “The Reveille” and the first verse of the National Anthem concluded the service.”
Private William Hugh Harding 1891 – 11 March 1915
832 Northamptonshire Yeomanry
William was born at Naseby early in 1891, the only son of William and Katharine Harding who had moved to Manor Farm, Hannington by 1893. He was educated at Wellingborough Grammar School, and was an accomplished horseman and follower of the Pytchley Hunt. He enlisted early in the war, and may have already been serving as a volunteer in the Northants Yeomanry as he was one of the first drafts to go to the front.
The Yeomanry was involved in the Neuve Chappelle offensive, this was the first large scale organised attack undertaken by the British Army. The attack began on the 10th March 1915, and continued until the 12th March 1915. Although successful losses were heavy. 11,652 officers and men were killed, missing or wounded over the three days, amongst them a number of the Yeomanry. William was killed in action; on the 11th March 1915.William was finally laid to rest in the Vieille-Chapelle New Military Cemetery, Lacouture, France.
Private Arthur Barritt 1892 – 9 May 1915
9306 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Arthur was born at Hannington in December 1892, the fourth son of William and Hilda Barritt of School Lane Hannington. He was working as a labourer, but he enlisted at Kettering on the 7th March 1911, into the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. At the outbreak of war he was transferred into the 1st Battalion of the regiment, and was part of the British Expeditionary Force that arrived in France on the 23rd November 1914. In the days prior to the Battle of Aubers Bridge the 1st Battalion alternated between being in the supporting trenches and in their billets. On the 6 May they were ordered to proceed to Le Touret in preparation for the bombardment and assault scheduled for 8 May. On the 7th the assault was postponed until the 9th and the battalion marched to Rue Du Bois, and took up positions in the trenches with the 2nd Sussex’s.
The British bombardment began at 5 a.m. on 9 May. The men of the 1St Battalion moved forward towards the enemy trenches, but the enemy defences were greater than anticipated, and the majority of the battalion was trapped between the two front lines, unable to either advance or retreat. It was 14 and a half hours later before those who were able could retreat to the relative safety of their own trenches. Of over 750 officers and men of the 1st Battalion who left the trenches in the morning by the end of the day 558 were killed; missing or wounded. It was not until 29 September 1915 that Arthur was officially recorded as killed in action. Arthur’s body was not recovered, and he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial, Pas de Calais, France, along with 35,000 who fell before 25 September 1915 and have no known grave.
Private Jesse England 1897 – 1 September 1915
12965 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Jesse was born at Hannington in the spring of 1897, one of the 13 children of George and Lydia England of Blacksmith’s Yard, Hannington. He was employed as a farm labourer when he enlisted at Northampton early in the war into the 2nd Battalion on the Northamptonshire Regiment. He arrived in France with his battalion on the 24th February 1915. The 2nd Battalion was involved in the Battle for Aubers Ridge. After this action there were no further major battles. The war diary for the 2nd Battalion details that through the summer months much of the time was spent in digging trenches, mainly at night, and being in the billets behind the lines. This was the continuing situation during August of 1915. Occasionally a fatality or wounding was reported, usually of men on lookout duties. On 29 August there was a report the enemy was contemplating using gas and all respirators were checked. On the 1 September one man was killed just prior to the battalion being relieved for return to the billets, unfortunately this fatality was Jesse England. The Northampton Herald, reported that Jesse was severely wounded whilst on lookout duty in France, and he passed away before he could be removed to hospital. Jesse is buried in the Sailly-Sur-La-lys Canadian Cemetery in the Pas de Calais France.
Private Jonathan Smith 1891 – 8 June 1916
16216 2nd Bn. Northamptonshire Regiment, (attached to Royal Engineers at time of his death)
Jonathan was born at Hannington early in 1891, one of the sons of Noah and Miriam Smith of Hardings Farm cottages Hannington. He was initially employed as a road man. He married at Ecton on 5 August 1912 to Emma Tebby, who had been working as a domestic servant at Hannington Rectory. He enlisted at Northampton in November 1914, but did not join the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment in France until 27 July 1915. At some point Jonathan became attached to one of the Royal Engineer tunnelling companies. Because of the large number of Royal Engineer companies it has not been possible to find the relevant war diary to establish the location of Jonathan’s death. However the circumstances were recorded in local newspaper reports in the following way. “The hazardous nature of the duties of the tunnelling section of the Northants Regiment attached to the Royal Engineers is revealed by the death of Private J. Smith of Lamport who is reported killed in a mine explosion. Information received by his wife from his comrades states that he and seven others were blown up by the mine and buried in the debris.” Jonathan died on 8 June 1916, and unfortunately his body was not recovered. He is commemorated on the Arras Memorial; Pas de Calais; France, where 35,000 servicemen who have no known graves and died in the Arras sector between spring 1916 and August 1918.
Private Jeremiah George England 1887 – 14 July 1916
20405 6th Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Jeremiah was born at Horton Oxfordshire in the summer of 1887, one of the 13 children of George and Lydia England who moved to Blacksmith’s Yard Hannington in 1897. He married Emma Summerfield of Brixworth in the summer of 1910, and worked as a farm labourer living at Blacksmith’s Yard Hannington. He enlisted at Walgrave, probably sometime late in 1915. The memorial at Hannington gives his battalion as the 8th but all other records give it as the 6th. The 6th is the more likely battalion as the 8th was a training battalion. The 6th battalion had first gone to France in July 1915, but Jeremiah did not join them until 22 December 1915. On 1 July 14916 the enemy position between Mametz and Montaubau was attacked and by 10.15 a.m. the first objective had been attained, but heavy casualties had been sustained. Their position was consolidated on the following day. Over the following ten days the battalion did not see any action, but on the 13th they came under heavy fire as the occupied dugouts around Maricourt. At 10.45 pm all four companies of the battalion moved towards the front, by 2.45 am they occupied Dublin trench. Their orders were that the 7th Royal West Kents would hold the line in the southern part of Trones Wood whilst the 6th would support the 12th Middlesex in the front line. The battalion was to clear up behind the front line and form a defensive flank on the eastern end.
At 4.30a.m. the British artillery barrage on Trones Wood lifted and the advance took place over 1000 yards of open ground, There was a large number of casualties as they advanced under an intense barrage of shells from enemy positions, before the battalion could reach the cover of the Wood. Although the Royal West Kents were not in their expected position, the battalion pressed forward and the strong point of the enemy was taken by 6 a.m. although further significant casualties were suffered.
Although the advance was considered a success at the battalion muster at 5.30 pm on the 14th only 4 officers and 247 men had survived unscathed of the 17 officers and 550 men who had left the sunken road and entered Trones Wood a few hours earlier. Jeremiah was one of the 37 men recorded as missing at the end of the day.
Jeremiah’s body was not recovered for burial and his name appears on the Thiepval Memorial at the Somme France. This memorial records the names of 72,205 officers and men who have no known grave, 90 % of whom died between July and November 1916.
Private Oliver John Barritt 1890 – 31 July 1916
10130 9th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders
Oliver was born at Hannington in the autumn of 1890, the third son of William and Hilda Barritt of School Lane Hannington. He attended Hannington village school. He was employed as a shoemaker, and living with one of his older brothers at Raunds, at the time of his enlistment, into the Royal Field Artillery on 3 May 1915 at Rushden as Private 95955. Before leaving for France in August 1915 he had transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders, and was issued with a new service number 10130. He had served at the front without a break until he died from pneumonia on the 31st July 1916, and is buried in Bruay Communal Cemetery in the Pas de Calais France.
Private George William Jones 1896 – 4 March 1917
3/10101 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
George William or William George was born at Byfield early in 1896, the eldest son of George and Eliza Jones of Hardings Farm cottages Hannington. He was employed as a farm labourer prior to enlistment at Northampton when he was recruited into the 2nd Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. He arrived in France with his unit on the 18th March 1915. He was at the front for some time, and would have seen action with his battalion during this time, but there is no record of his having suffering any injury before his death. During this time he was trained up as a 1st class signaller. In the month prior to his death his battalion was in the area of Sailly-Lee-Sec and was either in billets, or in training for night attack. On the 3rd March 1917, the 2nd Battalion relieved the 2nd West Yorks at Bouchavesne. The following day the battalion attacked the enemy trenches on Moislains Ridge, the battalion war diary recorded that “the attack was successful, and all objectives were obtained and held, casualties were 7 officers and 235 other ranks.” Private Jones was amongst these casualties, the Northampton Herald of the 30th March 1917 reported that he was killed by a shell on 4 March together with his chief “pal”. George William is buried at the Fins new British Cemetery at Sorel-Le-Grand on the Somme France.
Private Arthur Ernest Collins 1894 – 22 November 1917
22935 1st Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment
Arthur was born at Hannington in the spring of 1894, the youngest of 17 children of Alfred and Mary Ann Collins of ‘near Hardings Farm’ Hannington. He was employed as a cattle drover prior to enlistment at Coventry. This was sometime after the end of 1915, and he joined the 1st Battalion of the Northamptonshire Regiment. I have not been able to discover very much about Arthur’s service, but he must have arrived in France sometime during 1916 or 1917. As he died of wounds whilst still in France he must have been injured sometime during November 1917, and before he was able to be sent back to the UK for treatment. On the 30th July 1917 the 1st Battalion, along with the rest of the 1st Division, marched to Le Clipon. A projected offensive in the Ypres Salient was going to be accompanied by a landing in force upon part of the Belgian coast that was in enemy hands. The 1st Division spent a considerable amount of time training in secret for this landing right through to the end of August 1917. In the end the landing was never attempted, and the training of the 1st Battalion changed until on the 22nd of October the battalion left Clipon Camp and marched in the direction of Ypres. The war diary for the 1st Battalion recorded that they were camped near to St Janster Biegen at the beginning of November, and then were moved up to Poperinghe on the 6th of the month, and moved up to the front on the 8th to relieve the 2nd Kings Royal Rifles, just as the third battle of Ypres reached its conclusion, mainly due to a deterioration in weather conditions. Although the battalion was not in the thick of the battle it was a testing time for many of the men of the 1st, as for the majority it was their first time under fire. From this time until 21 November, when the battalion returned to billets, the 1st only suffered casualties on two occasions. The first being the 10 - 12 when the German artillery was very active, and 21 men were killed and 21 wounded. For two days the battalion was away from the front as about 70 men were admitted to hospital suffering from the effects of the mud and water in the shell holes. On the 16th, six shells fell in the vicinity of the battalion, as they marched into camp, and three men were wounded. It is not possible to be any more precise as to when Arthur suffered the injuries that would eventually prove to be fatal. He was buried in Wimereux Communal Cemetery Pas de Calais France, which was the burial ground for the Wimereux and Boulogne hospital centre.
Stoker 1st Class Jabez Franks 4 May 1888 – 22 September 1914
S.S.103825 H.M.S. Cressy
Jabez was born at Melsbourne Bucks on 4 May 1888, one of four sons of Mr and Mrs Benjamin Franks. His connection with Hannington is not known. At the time of Jabez’s death, his parents were living in Wootton and had previously lived at Barby and Brixworth. After the war they lived in West Haddon and Cold Ashby. It may be that friends lived in the village and requested his inclusion on the memorial at Hannington.
Jabez joined the Navy at the age of 17 years, and left the service in 1911 and was placed in the reserve. As a reservist he had been called up for training at the beginning of July 1914. After training he joined H.M.S. Cressy as a 1st class stoker.
H.M.S. Cressy was an armoured cruiser, and had been assigned to the 7th Cruiser Squadron, as part of the blockade of the eastern end of the English Channel, intended to prevent enemy warships attacking the supply route between England and France.
On 17 September 1914 the Cressy; Aboukir and Hogue were on patrol together, each ship was manned by over 700 officers and men from the Royal Navy Reserve. At 6.30 am on the morning of the 22nd the Aboukir was torpedoed by the U-9, and sank within 35 minutes. It was at first thought that the Aboukir had struck a mine and the two other cruisers went to her aid to pick up survivors. At 6.55 am the Hogue was hit by 2 torpedoes and at 7.30 am the Cressy was hit, she almost immediately turned turtle and had sunk by 7.55 am. Of the crew of the three ships 837 were rescued but 1,397 were lost. Jabez’s body was not recovered for burial, but he is commemorated on the Chatham naval memorial.