The Hague Family - Walter George Hague

Walter George Hague - Royal Garrison Artillery

Valenciennes Cemetery Find-A-Grave Record

Walter George Hague was my great uncle, a brother of my grand-father. He was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire in the early part of 1894. Unfortunately, his wartime service record was one of many to be destroyed in the blitz of the second World War, so I have very little data about him.

A search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web-site throws up the following hits:

I think the balance of probability is strongly in favour that my ancestor is "Hague, W.G." of the RGA, which is the same regiment his brother Ernest joined during the war. I don't know when Walter was called up (Ernest was called up some time near the end of 1915) so don't know if Walter joined Ernest or (as seems more likely) it was the other way round. Walter was 21 and Ernest 33 at the end of 1915, perhaps they joined up together?

According to the CWGC record, the most likely record shows Walter joining the RGA and becoming a Lance Bombardier, number 172652, serving with the 308th Siege Battery. He died 16th November, 1918 and is buried in Valenciennes (St. Roch) Communal Cemetery, reference "I.D.14.", so will have been aged just 24.

I have been unable to unearth much about the 308th Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery. There is a great deal about the RGA on the web, including a site that lists dozens of the siege batteries, but not the 308th. One forum post that does mention the 308th SB states: "... this mechanised Siege Battery that went out to the Western front 29-4-1917, with armament of 4 x 6 in Howitzers (26 cwt)..." It also states that the 308th SB was part of various Heavy Artillery Groups (HAG) with: "...and finally to 30 Brigade 22-12-17 with no subsequent changes" and mentions a War Diary for this group covering the period from that date to December 1918 with the National Archives reference WO95/220, so I will check out that at my next NA visit.

The date of Walter's passing is just five days after the end of the First World War. This suggests Walter had been wounded towards the end of the conflict. It must have been terrible for his parents to have seen the war eventually end, only to receive the terrible news of his death, so soon after the celebrations.

Walter's name is commemorated on the Kettering War Memorial, alongside the names of two cousins.

The CWGC web link to Valenciennes Cemetery gives details of the soldiers buried there.

According to the National Archives, his medal card is "WO 372/8/193811". Next time I visit Kew, I'll look at it for any information it might contain about Walter.