Lieutenant Harry Osborne Hackett, 16th Battalion Welsh Regiment, died of wounds on 28th August 1917, aged 22. He was promoted to full Lieutenant on the day he died, having been commissioned Second Lieutenant in December 1914 after initially enlisting in the ranks of the Army Service Corps. He was born in Birmingham on 4th September 1894 and attended Wellesbourne School, Acocks Green before joining Solihull School (Acocks Green House).
Whilst at Solihull School, Harry was a member of the Officer Training Corps (OTC). He came second throwing the cricket ball on Sports Day 1910, the same year he left school. He lived in Moseley and was a member of Robin Hood Golf Club. An announcement of his death in the Birmingham Mail 5th September describes him as the elder son of Harry Hackett, Chartered Accountant but, in fact, he was the second son. His older brother, George Lear Hackett, had died suddenly in Tewkesbury, aged 10, in 1903. At this time, the family was described as being of Vesey Grange, Sutton Coldfield.
His parents, Harry and Emma Anne (née Lear) had married in 1892 and, according to the 1911 census, had five children of whom two had already died by 1911. They are known to have had two daughters – Nellie, born in 1896, and Marjorie, born in 1897. By 1911, the family was living in Acocks Green.
When war broke out, Harry Osborne Hackett was working as an engineer at the Tyseley works of Messrs Perry, manufacturers of cycle chains. He enlisted immediately, becoming a Private in the Army Service Corps, but not seeing overseas service before he was commissioned.
Harry Osborne Hackett, then of the 11th Battalion Welsh Regiment, obtained his pilot’s licence on 30th October 1915, flying a Maurice Farman biplane at the Military School, Shoreham. At this time, his home address was given as “Jesmond Dene”, Edgbaston, Birmingham.
Second Lieutenant Hackett married Sara Gordon MacMillan, known as Mollie, at Bodelwyddan, Flintshire on 4th November 1916, at which time he was stationed at nearby Kinmel Camp. The couple set up home in Gillott Road, Edgbaston and Harry embarked for France in January 1917. He was injured a few months later, and returned to England to recover from a smashed wrist. He went back to the Front in late June/early July and was fatally wounded seven weeks later.
He is buried at Dozinghem Military Cemetery, Westvleteren, Poperinge, Belgium, and is commemorated locally on Solihull School War Memorial, the Roll of Honour of Wellesbourne School in St Mary’s Church, Acocks Green, and at Robin Hood Golf Club. His name is also included in the Book of Remembrance at Birmingham’s Hall of Memory.
Six months after his death, his widow gave birth to the couple’s only child, Harry Osborne Hackett. He was born in Birmingham on 19th January 1918. Two years later, Sara Gordon Hackett married Herbert Weston Grew (1882-1961) and, sometime between 1939-1961, the family moved to Devon, where Herbert Grew died in 1961. Harry Hackett died in 1964, and Sara died in 1967.
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