Shrewsbury School

The news 100 years ago: 23rd - 29th January 1915

Thursday 22 January 2015

This week we remember:
Lieutenant William Leonard Ringrose Hatch, 2nd Bn. Royal Irish Fusiliers.
School House, left in 1907
Killed in action in Belgium 25 January 1915 aged 24
Remembered on Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium. Panel 42.

The Salopian records that he was known to have a "pleasant personality, unfailing good humour and readiness to take part in all forms of House activity. Those of us who recollect him as a member of the Army Class will feel sure that he died as he lived: a sportsman, a gentleman, and a loyal Old Salopian".

He obtained his Commission in 1911, and two years later was promoted Lieutenant. When the War broke out the Royal Irish Fusiliers were stationed in India, and he returned to Europe with his regiment to take part in it. From an interesting letter written by one for his brother officers, who was nearest to him when he fell, it appears that, while taking observations of the enemy from the trenches, Lieut. Hatch was hit in the shoulder and disabled.

“However, at 11:15am they were fired on very heavily by the German howitzers. Some of the men went into his trench to try and move him but he ordered them back, and was alone with one other man, a Private, when the shell landed. He and the Private were instantly killed, and five other men were buried with the falling parapet, though later rescued. The men ordered back realised he saved their lives, for the shell that killed him burst before they could have moved him. They all loved him as we all did, myself particularly, and were deeply cut up at his death.”

The news 100 years ago: 23rd - 29th January 1915
Just as the fighting in northern France and Belgium continued, so too did the war at sea. Learning from intercepted radio signals that a German raiding squadron was heading towards Dogger Bank, the British despatched their own naval forces to intercept it. The British met the Germans at the expected time and place and gave chase. In the fighting that followed, the German battlecruiser Blücher was sunk.

As the Blücher had been one of the ships involved in the shelling of Scarborough and Hartlepool in December 1914, news of her sinking was greeted with jubilation in England. However, while victory at the Battle of Dogger Bank served to boost British morale, strategic gains were minimal.

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