Albert Victor HATHAWAY
Rank: Corporal
Number: 73117
Unit: 11th Platoon, C Company, 28th Battalion (Saskatchewan Regiment) Canadian Infantry
Date of Death: 27 April 1918
Age: 20
Cemetery: Bellacourt Military Cemetery, Riviere, Pas de Calais, France

There seems to be some doubt about Albert's age and it is probable that he lied in order to enlist in 1914. There is no doubt that he was born in Birmingham, the son of Edward and Ellen. When he enlisted on 2 October 1914, he gave his date of birth as 24 June 1893 - certainly old enough for active service overseas with the army. However, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website records his age at death as 20. This is supported by the family history website, FreeBMD, which records the registration of the birth of Albert Victor Hathaway between July and September 18997, in the Aston district of Birmingham.

It is not known when the family moved to the Stockport area but, in 1914, Albert's parents were living at 3 Station Street, Hazel Grove. They later moved to 45 Gilmore Street, in the Shaw Heath area.

Albert had left England in about 1913, when he was 15, to make a better life for himself in Canada and had settled in Saskatchewan, probably living in Moosejaw, where he joined up. He was working as a "loco engineer" (presumably a train driver). His attestation papers can be viewed on-line at the Canadian National Archives and these show him to have been 5 feet 6.5 inches tall with a 36.5 inch chest. He was of a ruddy complexion with brown eyes and light brown hair. Albert had recorded his religion as Church of England. The examining doctor recorded that he had a scar on the inner side of his left leg. Albert's signature, perhaps, suggests a man not used to writing.

The newly formed 28th Battalion left Canada in June 1915. After further training in the UK, it went on active service in September and would take part in the major subsequent battles on the Western Front.

On 24 April 1918, Albert and his mates were in reserve positions at Bretencourt, approximately 8 kilometres south west of the French town of Arras. They had been resting after being in action a couple of days before. Later in the day, they moved back into the front line trenches to start a tour of duty at Boiry Becquerelle, a few kilometres away south of the town. It was to be a relatively quiet period.

The Battalion's War Diary for 27 April records that it was a fine day. During the previous night the men had been out in No Man's Land repairing the barbed wire, constructing machine gun posts and generally tidying up the area. The senior officer, Major G F D Bond, visited all the companies and sections in the morning. Some of the Battalion had been left in reserve at Bretencourt and these men carried out training and undertook fatigue parties for the town major. It notes that one soldier, Albert, was killed during the day. This was, most probably, by shrapnel from an exploding shell.

   
           
   
     
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