Poppy In memoriam Poppy

Lance Corporal Robert James Hanna




Robert James Hanna was born on 26 May 1880 at Moyraverty, Lurgan, County Armagh, the third of at least seven children of weaver William John Hanna and his wife Jane (nee Campbell). His father died in 1889 at Ballymacanallen, Waringstown, and mother in 1892 at Corcreany.

Like his father, Hanna worked as a linen weaver. On 30 April 1907 he married Elizabeth Hamilton at Lurgan Parish Church. The couple had five children over the next seven years. By 1914 the family was living at Victoria Street, Lurgan.

Hanna had enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Portadown between 18 and 24 January 1912 (No.655). He embarked for France with C Squadron on 20 August 1914, seeing action on the retreat from Mons and advance to the Aisne.

On 31 May 1917 he transferred to the 1st Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (No.41309).

The 1st Battalion was stationed in the 'Battle Zone' on the St Quentin front with the 36th (Ulster) Division when the German Spring Offensive began on 21 March 1918. During the retreat over the following week they suffered many casualties, particularly on 22 March, when the battalion diary recorded 531 men missing. Hanna was one of the missing. He had been captured, badly wounded. He died in captivity on 20 April 1918.

Hanna was buried in the German extension to the communal cemetery at La Capelle-en-Thierache, Aisne, France. After the war his body was exhumed and re-buried in the La Capelle-en-Thierache Communal Cemetery (the grave located on the right hand side of the main path in the French war graves plot).

The gravestone inscription reads:

41309 LANCE CPL.
20TH APRIL 1918


Image kindly provided by Steve Rogers, Project Co-ordinator of the The War Graves Photographic Project, www.twgpp.org.