1st Battalion Royal Gloucestershire Hussars
Died 24th April 1916 aged 27
William Knowling Hatch was born at Rattery Devon in the second quarter of 1889. He was the first son of John Hatch (1859-1946) and Laura Knowling (1857-1928) who lived at Terrace House, Ashburton, Devon.
Early on 23 April, A Squadron was stationed at Qatia (or Katia), some 6 miles south-east of Romani. At 03:30 under Captain Lloyd Baker, they stood to arms and saddled up; a patrol was sent out and returned to report all clear. Soon afterwards a small Ottoman patrol fired on the yeomanry and retired. About 05:30 heavy fire was heard from Oghratina, and a message was received half an hour later that an attack had been repulsed. At 06:30 another message reported that the attack had been renewed, and a message from Romani reported that Dueidar had also been attacked. At 07:45 another Ottoman attack at Katia was driven off. At 08:45 a patrol sent out towards Oghratina saw 600 Ottoman soldiers marching towards Katia in open order in two long lines about 1.5 miles away, followed by more troops in a formed body, and cavalry advancing to the south west to surround Katia. At 09:45 a battery of mountain guns near Er Rabah opened fire on Katia from the north east, which killed or maimed some of the horses within a few minutes. Rather than retiring to Romani or to Bir el Hamisah, Captain Lloyd Baker decided to stay at Katia and protect his party of Royal Engineers, hoping for support from Romani. The Gloucestershire squadron maintained rapid fire against the increasing numbers of Ottoman attackers, and just before 10:00 British reinforcements from Romani (Gloucestershire Hussars) and Bir el Hamisah (Worcestershire Hussars) converged on Katia and fought their way through to the garrison. Lieutenant Colonel Charles Coventry of the Worcestershire Hussars now took command of the garrison. Heavy fire from Ottoman rifles and machine guns continued for several hours at Katia, and the Ottomans gradually pressed in on the yeomanry’s front and flanks. Eventually working their way to within 50 yards, the Ottomans rushed the garrison shortly before 15:00. The flank held by the Gloucestershire Hussars collapsed and Coventry then ordered a general surrender. At about 13:30 Coventry had asked Captain W.H. Wiggin to bring up the horses to allow as many men as possible the chance of escape, but the captain fainted from the effects of a wound before he reached them.[Note 3] When he came to, he saw the camp had been captured, and galloped with the surviving horses and horse holders to meet escaping yeomanry. A total of eighty men escaped, with Wiggin being the only officer to get away from Oghratina or Katia. The Gloucestershire Hussars lost 4 officers and 16 other ranks killed, 15 other ranks were wounded and 64 were taken prisoner.
Panel 3 Jerusalem Memorial