Alexander Roy HATCHER (1895-1917)

9th Infantry Brigade AIF

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Plaque and Medals to PTE 456 Alexander Hatcher

35th BATTALION A.I.F.

Private: 456 Alexander Roy HATCHER.


Born: 1895. Leconfield, Branxton, New South Wales, Australia. NSW Birth Cert:32690/1895.

Died: 23rd Of October 1917. Died of Wounds Passchendaele, Belgium.


Father: Joseph Hatcher.

Mother: Jessie May Hatcher. nee: Hughes.


INFORMATION

Alexander Roy Hatcher enlisted with the B Company 35th Battalion on the 3rd of December 1915. Alexander was an original member of the Battalion. He served with the 14th Battalion prior to World War 1. He left Australia from Sydney on board HMAT A24 "Bennalla" on the 1st of May 1916 and disembarked at Plymouth, England on the 9th of July 1916.

Alexander proceeded overseas from South Hampton, England for France on the 21st of November 1916 and was taken on strength with the 35th Battalion. He was Wounded in Action, first occassion on the 7th of June 1917 Gun Shot Wound, Left Wrist. and was sent to the 9th Australian Field Ambulance before being transfered to the 1st Canadian General hospital at Etaples on the 8th of June.

7th June 1917.

THE BATTLE OF MESSINES

The 3rd Australian Divisions first major offencive was at Messines Ridge on the 7th June 1917. The Australian 3rd Division was a part of the II Anzac Corps which was allotted to the first assault. The 25th New Zealand, 3rd Australian Division with the 4th Australian Division in reserve. The 4th Division were battle hardened troops who had fought many major battles.The 3rd Australian Division were having problems getting to the "jump off" point. The day before the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades were bombarded by German Gas-Shells around Hill 63 and Plugstreet Wood. Many of the Aussies were not wearing gas masks, but dispite this they pressed on even though they received 500 casulties.

They made it to the "jump off" point but only just with some of the men from the 9th and 10th going straight over the top without stopping. The mines went up and the attack commenced behind a protective barrage. The II Anzac Corps were attacking on the right with their objective being the southern shoulder of the ridge which included Messines, the Dover and St Yves areas as far south to the east of Plugstreet Wood.

Major General Sir John MONASH's 3rd Division had to contend with a tricky 3 mile approach out of Plugstreet Wood and after the German gas attack, but they were not detered. The 9th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General: Alexander JOBSON and the 10th Infantry Brigade under Brigadier General W R NICHOLL had just made the jumping off point but some of the men did not stop, going straight into the assault from the approach march.

Their objective lay between St Yves and the Douve. The mines at Trench 127 and Trench 12 at Factory Farm were laid to aid this task. The explosions erupted a few seconds before zero hour and created craters of 200 feet in diameter, completely obliterating the German defence line as the 9th and 10th Infantry Brigades went over the top. The mine crates forced the 9th and 10th Brigades to veer to the left and right which caused some confusion with the main assault. It is testimony to the quality of training that every man knew the ground, tasks and objectives so well.

Private: 1804 John CARROLL 33rd Battalion, rushed the enemy's trench and bayoneted four of the German occupants. He then noticed a comrade in difficulties and went to his assistance, killing another German. He then attacked single handed a German Machine Gun Team, killing all three of them and capturing the gun. He later rescued two of his comraded who had been buried alive by German Shell Fire, and in spite of heavy shelling and machine gun fire he dug them out alive and saved them from certain death. John was awarded the Victoria Cross.

The German foward zone was completely engulfed and taken by the main assault. The two supporting battalions of each brigade then passed the leading battalion to continue the advance. The men were constantly re-supplied and the ridge was taken. There were many German prisoners taken during the offencive. The 3rd Division was well ahead with the 9th Infantry Brigade pushing on beyond Grey Farm, and on the right the 10th Infantry Brigade were veering left towards Septieme Barn north of Douve.

The German resistance was heavy but was generally brushed aside by tanks and artillery before the infantry had to become too involved.The 4th Bavarian Divisions Artillery had made little impact, but as the day wore on the 3rd Division and later the 4th Australian Division received many casulties from German artillery. (70% of all casulties during WW1 were from artillery).

By 9:00am nearly 6 hours after the assault began the Germans were in dissaray, but there was a major problem as the Australians received less casulties as anticipated and when ordered to dig into the ridge they had so many men, that some could not find shelter. the 35th battalion were dug in around Seaforth Farm.

The second phase of the operation was to take the Oosttaverne Line. The 3rd Australian Division would now be in reserve with the 4th Division attacking. The 9th Infantry Brigade (33-34-35-36Bn) were near Thatched Cottage facing Warneton. The river Lys was to their right and the Plugstreet Wood was now behind them.

Once their objectives were taken the troops consolidated. A barrarge to stop and counter attack was shortnened and caught three battalions which had to retire. By 9:00pm this part of the Oosttaverne Line was abandonded. At 10:45pm General Godley ordered the 3rd and 4th Divisions to retake it. This they did by the early hours of the 8th of June.

The Battle for Messines Ridge during May-June 1917 saw 35 officers and 1,631 other ranks loose their lives.

9th Infantry Brigade Casulties.
33rd Battalion. AIF 8 Officers 382 Other ranks
34th Battalion. AIF 10 Officers 378 Other ranks
35th Battalion. AIF 5 Officers 431 Other ranks
36th Battalion. AIF 9 Officers 421 Other ranks
9th Machine Gun Company. AIF 2 Officer 17 Other ranks
9th Light Trench Mortor Battery. 1 Officer 2 Other ranks

Field Dressing Station, Messines 07/06/1917

FIELD DRESSING STATION, MESSINES 7th June 1917.

Alexander was evacuated to England on board "H.S.Essequibo" on the 10th of June for treatment at the 1st South Hampton General Hospital, England. After being released from hospital Alex was granted Furlo on the 19th of June 1917 until the 28th of July before returning to the 3rd Commenwealth Depot.

Alex was charged with being A.W.O.L on the 5th of August and awarded 7 days confinement and forfirted 4 days pay. Alex was absent from 3.30pm on the 2nd of August to 2.40pm on the 5th of August 1917. Alex was sent for training with the 3rd Commonwealth Training Depot before proceeding overseas from Hurticott, England for France on the 19th of August 1917.

He rejoined the 35th battalion in the field on the 29th of August and was Wounded in Action, second occassion receiving a Gun Shot Wound, Right Thigh on the 3rd of October 1917 and was taken for treatment to the 11th Australian Field Ambulance and then to the 3rd Australian Field Ambulance before being sent to the 2nd Canadian General Hospital.

Alex was treated there for nearly a week before being transported via the Ambulance Train for treatment at the 12th General Hospital in Rouen, France on the 10th of October 1917.After 2 weeks of treatment Alex Died of Wounds on the 24th of October 1917.

Alexander was a single 20 year old Wheeler form Summer Hill, Branxton, N.S.W. upon enlistment. His religion was Church of England. He Died of Wounds on the 23rd of October 1917 from injuries received at the battle of Passchendaele and is remembered with honour and is commemerated in perpetuity by the Commonweath War Graves Commission at St. Severs Cemetery Extension. Rouen, Belgium.

St Sever Extension War Cemetery

ST SERVER EXTENSION WAR CEMETERY

World War 1 Records

BRANXTON WAR MEMORIAL

Alexander's Memorial Plaque:336152, British War:38616 and Victory Medal:38303 to PTE 456 A R HATCHER 35BN AIF were acquired in 2003 and are now in the collection with his brothers medals and Memorial Plaque. His Plaque was first issued on the 4th of October 1922 and his medals were first issued on the 5th of March 1923 to his father Joseph at Branxton, N.S.W.

World War 1 Records

FAMILY INFORMATION

Alexander was a single 20 year old Wheeler from Summerhill near Branxton New South Wales upon enlistment. Alexander went to Branxton Public School and seved with the 14th Infantry Militia

Joseph and Jessie May Hatcher were married in 1893 at Greta, N.S.W. Marriage Cert:3733/1893 and had 14 children. 10 boys and 4 girls. Percival J Hatcher born 1893. Greta. N.S.W. Birth Cert:15822/1893. Mervin Clarence Hatcher born 1894. Greta. N.S.W. Birth Cert:15159/1894. Alexander Roy Hatcher born 1895. Branxton. N.S.W. Birth Cert: 32690/1895. Thomas Harry HATCHER born 1897. Branxton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:3547/1895. Stanley H Hatcher born 1900 . Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert: 12943/1900. Walter L Hatcher born 1901. Branxton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:11110/1901. Muriel H Hatcher born 1902. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:36071/1902. Bertram N Hatcher born 1904. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert: 36928/1904. Elsie F Hatcher born 1906. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:28873/1906. Edna M Hatcher born 1908. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:18868/1908. Kenneth W Hatcher born 1909. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert: 30419/1909. William W Hatcher born 1910. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:32088/1910. Doris J Hatcher born 1911. Singleton. N.S.W. Birth Cert:45725/1911. Keith A Hatcher born 1915. Greta. N.S.W. Birth Cert:100771915.

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Commonwealth of Australia (National Archives of Australia)

Under construction; 10/08/2007-11/09/2016.


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