Arthur Norman Hackney was born in St Johns Wood, Sussex, on May 26, 1880. The family were fairly well to do, with a very smart home, but circumstances changed after the death of his parents, his mother Marion in 1884 and his father Alfred, GP, in 1886. He and his siblings were raised by relatives, one being educated at a Medical Benevolent College.
In those times orphaned children often were sent to Dr Barnardo Homes, and were subsequently shipped out to Canada. This possibly explains Arthur's fate. His New Zealand military record shows that he served with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles in the South African Campaign before World War I.
Arthur's brother Gordon became a surgeon and GP. He married a daughter of Sir William Waters Butler Bart, who became the chairman of Mitchell and Butlers, a still significant brewing and leisure company in the United Kingdom.
Another brother, Clifford, who seemed to have dropped his full name at some point, trained as a surgeon and became a GP in Hythe, Kent.
We must presume Arthur immigrated to New Zealand after the Boer War. He enlisted with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on August 12, 1914, stating that he was farming at Waiharara, in the Far North of New Zealand. He was described as 5 feet 11¾ inches tall (181cm) and 12 stone (76kg) in weight, with grey eyes and fair hair.
He nominated his brother C Hackney as his next of kin.
Arthur was called up to start training at the Epsom Training Camp, on September 7, 1914. Sixty-seven days later he sailed from Wellington, on the Limerick or the Orari, with the main body of the 1st Reinforcements, comprising 800 soldiers and 1076 horses.
Both ships arrived at Alexandria on December, travelling from there by train, via Cairo to Zeitoun, where their training camp was to be set up. While there Arthur contracted severe pneumonia, and was hospitalised for 60 days.
He finally rejoined the Auckland Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli on May 8, 1915 for the Second Battle of Koithia. (The village of Krithia and the neighbouring hill of Achi Baba had to be captured for the British to advance up the Gallipoli Peninsula to the forts that controlled the Dardanelles. A small amount of ground was taken after two days of costly fighting, but the objectives remained out of reach.)
WoundedOn June 16 Arthur suffered a shrapnel wound in his left thigh. He was evacuated on the sweeper Clackton the next day, and was taken to the No 1 Hospital in Lemnos. By June 20 he was in Valetta Hospital, Malta, 'progressing favourably'.
he subsequently sailed for London aboard HMT City of Benares, arriving on August 8, and, after further treatment, he joined the Australia and New Zealand Base Depot at Weymouth.
On September 14 he returned to Gallipoli, enduring harsh weather and conditions until the evacuation. He was with the New Zealand troops on board HMT Varsova out of Gallipoli, arriving in Alexandria on December 29.
By April 16, 1916, the troops were in Hazebrouck, close enough to the front line to hear the rumbling of gunfire and see flares lighting up the night sky. By mid-May, the division was ready to take its place in the front line, in the Armentieres sector, where, on July 3, Arthur was buried in a trench by a high explosive shell. When he regained consciousness 48 hours later to he was in a hospital at Boulogne, unable to see. According to his records, this was the second injury to his right eye.
He was sent to England by ship and admitted to Sheffield Hospital, and on July 20 was transferred to the Walton on Thames Hospital, and from there, on August 2, to the 2nd General Hospital, London, followed by the Convalescent Hospital in Hornchurch.
By this time he had regained the sight in his left eye, but the right eye remained damaged, reacting very feebly to light. He was given a medical discharge.
On February 14, 1917, he was returned from Plymouth to New Zealand on board the Ionic, and on May 8 he was discharged from the 1st Auckland Infantry Battalion.
One might have expected that to be the end of his war, but it wasn't. He was a very brave man. By July 6, 1917, Arthur had found his way to Vancouver, where he enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. He disclosed his impaired eyesight, but, after a medical examination, was pronounced fit for service. He was posted to the 29th Canadians, and was sent to France.
The Battle of Amiens, also known as the Third Battle of Picardy, was the opening phase of the Allied offensive, later known as the Hundred Days' Offensive, that began on August 8, 1918. Allied forces advanced more than 11km on the first day, one of the most significant advances of the war, with Gen Henry Rawlinson's British Fourth Army (with nine of its 19 divisions supplied by the fast-moving Australian Corps of Lt Gen John Monash and Canadian Corps of Lt Gen Arthur Currie) playing the decisive role.
It was that day, August 8, 1918, that Private Arthur Hackney was killed in action serving with the 29th Canadian Division. He was buried at Rosieres Communal Cemetery Extension, the Somme.
Arthur's service was outstanding. He enlisted at the very beginning, and served n Egypt, Gallipoli and on the Western Front. He died just three months before the war ended.
The Battle of Amiens was a significant turning, however. In August armoured support helped the Allies break through trench lines, thus weakening the once impregnable German trench positions. By August 27 the Allies had captured about 50,000 prisoners and 500 guns, which ultimately led to the end of the war.
Private Arthur Hackney's name is recorded at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, at the World War I Hall of Memories, and on Kaitaia's World War I memorial. He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and Canada's Victory Medal. Published courtesy Onward Project WP 15/11/1916.