Private William John Hutchinson

 

 

William John Hutchinson was born on 6 June 1888 at 65 Hillman Street, Belfast, the seventh of twelve children of pilot master (later Belfast's deputy harbour master) William John Hutchinson and his wife Letitia (nee Beggs). By 1911 he was living with his parents and four siblings at 2 Queen's Road, Belfast, and working as an invoice clerk.

Hutchinson enlisted in the North Irish Horse on 21 February 1916 (regimental number between 2113-16, or 2120-21). After spending the year in training at the regiment's reserve depot at Antrim, in November 1916 Hutchinson was among 100 North Irish Horsemen who volunteered to transfer to the Royal Irish Rifles. The formal transfer took place on 7 December (Hutchinson was issued regimental number 40878), and on the same day they embarked for France, where they joined the 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles, on the Somme front.

A newspaper report in 1917 stated that he had been wounded. This may however refer to the fact that during the year he was evacuated to the UK and hospitalised suffering from ICT (inflamed connective tissue) in his left hand.

The injury was severe enough to prevent Hutchinson from seeing further active service. He was discharged on 26 June 1918 as being no longer physically fit for military service (paragraph 392 xvi, King's Regulations). He was later granted a pension, with his disablement rated at 30 per cent.

On 5 February 1918 Hutchinson married Florence Louise Morris, daughter of Joseph Morris, retired head of the Royal Irish Constabulary, at Sinclair Seamen's Presbyterian Church, Shankill, Belfast.

Hutchinson died at his home on Greenholme Larne Road, Carrickfergus, County Antrim, on 13 March 1960, and was buried in Victoria Cemetery.

 

His brother Robert Beggs Hutchinson also served during the war, in the Merchant Navy.

 

Image, from Belfast Evening Telegraph, from 1917, kindly provided by Nigel Henderson, Researcher at History Hub Ulster (www.greatwarbelfastclippings.com).