William Hackett

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For the 16th-century English religious fanatic, see William Hacket .
William Hackett
Born 11 June 1873
Nottingham, England
Died 27 June 1916 (aged 43)
Near Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, France
Buried at Remembered on the Ploegsteert Memorial
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom
Service/branch Flag of the British Army.svg British Army
Years of service 1915–1916
Rank Sapper
Unit Royal Engineers
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Victoria Cross

William Hackett VC (11 June 1873 – 27 June 1916) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Hackett was born 11 June 1873 to John and Harriet Hackett of Nottingham;[1] he worked as a miner for 23 years in the Nottingham and Yorkshire coalfields, and was married to Alice. Hackett enlisted in the 254th Tunnelling Company, Corps of Royal Engineers, in October 1915, after being rejected three times by the York and Lancaster Regiment for being too old. He was 43 years old, and a Sapper in British Army during the First World War when he performed a deed for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross on 22 June/23 June 1916 at Shaftesbury Avenue Mine, near Givenchy-lès-la-Bassée, France


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".

The London Gazette, dated 4 August 1916[2]


Memorial to Sapper William Hackett VC in Mexborough

Hackett's name is recorded on the Ploegsteert Memorial to the Missing in Berks Cemetery Extension near Ploegsteert in Hainaut, Belgium.[1] His Victoria Cross is displayed at the Royal Engineers Museum (Chatham, England).

The Tunnellers Memorial, funded by private donation, is a war memorial to all tunnellers on the Western Front, revealed at the site of Shaftesbury Shaft, on 19 June 2010.[3]


  1. ^ a b Hackett, William, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
  2. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29695. p. 7744. 4 August 1916. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  3. ^ "William Hackett – The Tunnellers Memorial, Givenchy – to be unveiled on 19 June 2010". tunnellersmemorial.com. Retrieved 2010-06-20. 

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