RFA West Lancs Bdes
681561 GNR. R. HACKING. R.F.A.
Robert Hacking was born on 22 December 1892 in Blackburn and baptised at Blackburn Christ Church on 29 January 1893. His father was James Hacking (b. 1858 in Blackburn), a labourer in a cotton mill. His mother was Phoebe Ann Grime (b. 1859 in Blackburn). James and Phoebe were married in 1884 and they had five children: William (1896-1905), Isaac (b. 1887), Benjamin (b. 1890), then Robert and finally James (b. 1898). In 1911, James and Phoebe and their four surviving sons were living at 15 Kidder Street, Blackburn. All the boys were working as cotton mill hands.
Robert enlisted in Blackburn in 1915 and was assigned service number 681561 and posted to “C” Battery of 286 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery. After training in 1915 and 1916, 286 Brigade landed in France in February 1917 and spent the spring and early summer in the defence of Armentières.
In June 1917, 286 Brigade were defending Armentières and the War Diary reports regular enemy bombardment of the town and the artillery batteries. 286Bde were engaged in wire-cutting and general harassment of the enemy, but suffered retaliation. On 11 June, the Diary records: “1 Other Rank D/286 wounded. A/286 Bde position heavily shelled with 5.9s. C/286 Bde 2 O/R killed in action, 14 O/R wounded. Wire-cutting. S.O.S. – Enemy succeeded in entering our front-line trench but did not get out again”. Robert Hacking was one of the men killed, he was 24 years old.
Service No: 681561
Date of Death: 11/06/1917
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, “C” Bty, 286 Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: II. C. 5.
Cemetery/Memorial: ERQUINGHEM-LYS CHURCHYARD EXTENSION
Additional Information: Son of James and Phoebe Ann Hacking, of 3 Kidder Street, Ewood, Blackburn.
Robert’s brother Isaac also served in the War. In February 1916 he joined the Royal Air Force. I don’t have details of where he served but he survived the War and died in 1954. I think Benjamin may also have seen service with the East Lancashire Regiment and then the Northumberland Fusiliers. If so, he survived the War. He died in 1977.