696139 PTE. R. HARDACRE. R.F.A.
Robert Hardacre was born in the final quarter of 1880 in Bamber Bridge. His family at the time was living at Brownedge Convent. Robert’s father was Matthew Hardacre (b. 1849 in Bamber Bridge), a cotton weaver. His mother was Jane Sharrock (b. 1844 in Higher Walton). Matthew and Jane were married in 1874 and they had 7 children: Grace (1876-1898), Isabella (b. 1879), Mary Ann (b. 1880), then Robert, then Mary Jane (b. 1886), Maggie (b. 1889) and finally Francis William (b. 1890). In 1904 Robert married Mary Heneghan (b. 1882 in Warrington). Mary was a domestic servant at Brownedge presbytery. In 1911, the couple were living at 2 Duddle Lane, Bamber Bridge. Robert was a fruiterer and Mary worked in a mill as a cotton winder.
Robert enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery. He was given service number 696139 and posted to “B” Battery of 186th Brigade. 186Bde was attached to 39th Division. 39th Division saw heavy action in 1917, at Pilkem Ridge, Langemarck, the Menin Road Ridge, Polygon Wood and the Second Battle of Passchendaele. In 1918, they were engaged in the German Spring Offensive at the Battle of St Quentin, the actions at the Somme crossings, the Battle of Bapaume and the Battle of Rosières. No sooner had the action concluded on the Somme than the Division was moved to Flanders as the Germans opened their second offensive (Operation Georgette) near Ypres. Robert was killed in action as the Germans re-captured the village of Wytschaete which had been in British hands since the Battle of Messines the previous June. Robert was 37 years old.
Service Number: 696139
Date of Death: 09/04/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery,"B" Bty. 186th Bde.
Cemetery/memorial reference: Panel 1.
Cemetery/Memorial: PLOEGSTEERT MEMORIAL
Robert’s brother, Francis, also served in the Artillery. He joined up with the other Briggers in May 1915 and served in “C” Battery of 286 Brigade. He was 680860 Pte. F. W. Hardacre. He was a gunner/saddler. He survived the War, married in 1922 but died in 1925.