William Hackett (11/06/1873 – 27/06/1916) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 22 June/23 June 1916 at Shaftesbury Avenue Mine, near Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, France.
The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 29695, Page: 7744, reads:
“No. 136414 Sppr. William Hackett, late Royal Engineers.
For most conspicuous bravery when entombed with four others in a gallery owing to the explosion of an enemy mine.
After working for 20 hours a hole was made through fallen earth and broken timber, and the outside party was met. Sapper Hackett helped three of the men through the hole and could easily have followed, but refused to leave the fourth, who had been seriously injured, saying ” I am a tunneller, I must look after the others first.”
Meantime the hole was getting smaller, yet he still refused to leave his injured comrade. Finally the gallery collapsed, and though the rescue party worked desperately for four days the attempt to reach the two men failed.
Sapper Hackett, well knowing the nature of sliding earth, the chances against him, deliberately gave his life for his comrade.”
His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing. in Belgium, Panel 1.
© DRW 2017-2018. Created 01/05/2017. Image courtesy of Mark Green. Gallaher cigarette card by Card Promotions © 2003, first issued 1916.