6th Battalion Connaught Rangers,
Killed in Action, 19th February 1917,
From Dublin aged 21
Augustine Hackett landed in France with the 6th Battalion Connaught Rangers on the 17th December 1915, attached to the 47th Brigade in 16th (Irish) Division, for service on the Western Front.
The Battalion was involved in action during operations in Guillemont & Guinchy. In just over a week’s fighting here in September 1916, the 6th Battalion lost 23 officers and 407 other ranks. Augustine coming through this attack unscathed. It was during this battle that he was awarded a Divisional Parchment Certificate for gallantry in action.
February 1917 saw the 6th Connaughts involved in fighting during the Battle of Messines (near the Petit Boise and Maedelstede Farm mines), carrying out numerous trench raids aimed at forcing temporary entry into the enemy’s line in order to kill defenders, destroy fortifications and weapons, gain intelligence by the capture of maps and documents, and return with prisoners.
Augustine was part of large trench raid, near Kemmel, on the 19th February, when 9 Officers & 190 men went forward under cover of a dense fog The war diary mentions the men ‘cheerfully tucking green miniature Irish flags into their caps or buttonholes’, before moving out at 7.15am.
The Germans however, put up stiff resistance, and at no point did the Rangers succeed in getting past the German wire.
The battalion lost 3 Officers & 8 men killed 2 Officers & 17 men wounded. Augustine tragically, was one of those men killed. The Commanding Officer, Rowland Fielding, mentions his death.
“The first wave of the left party, started off well under 2Lt. Cummins, a very gallant young officer whom I had put in command in place of the original commander. Then Sergeant Hackett, was almost immediately killed”.
The Germans offered a chivalrous local armistice, allowing Augustine & his comrades bodies to be recovered.
He is remembered with honour at Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery
HE WENT TO WAR
FOR THE SAKE OF PEACE
HE DIED WITHOUT HATE
THAT LOVE MIGHT LIVE