Norwich – Earlham Cemetery (Daniel George Hatton)

This is the grave of Daniel George Hatton, located in the old military cemetery at Earlham Cemetery. He is remembered by a gravestone which was placed here by his family, pre-dating those that were provided by the CWGC. Daniel was born in 1894, the son of Daniel and Emma Hatton. Daniel (the older) had been born on 10 January 1872 and Emma on 21 May 1875, with Daniel working as a shoe finisher.

At the 1901 census, the family were living at 11 Greyhound Opening in Heigham, a property which has since been demolished. There was Daniel, his parents, and his new-born little brother, John William Hatton. By the time of the 1911 census, Daniel was using his middle name of George, with the family living at 29 Greyhound Opening, another property since demolished. Daniel George’s uncle was also with the family at the time of the census, another John Hatton. The younger Daniel was working as a boot maker and the older Daniel as a boot finisher. As an aside on this, it can only be wondered what people like Daniel would have done as a job in today’s economy, the choice of options that they had back in the early twentieth century was far more limited and many in Norwich worked in the shoe industry.

At some point after 1911, the family moved to nearby 53 Midland Street, yet another property since demolished. Daniel’s war records seem to have been lost, but he joined the 4th Norfolk Regiment in 1914 (with service number 3659), although I don’t know if he saw any service overseas.

Daniel died on 17 June 1915, at the age of just 21 after he was killed whilst travelling from London Liverpool Street to Norwich by train. The inquest found that “death was due to injuries to the head from a blow described as a terrific nature. The line had been examined, but no marks found on the bridges or signalposts.” The coroner said that this was “a mystery”, but noted that his service colleagues he was travelling with were entirely free of blame. After having to endure the inquest in Bishop’s Stortford to their son’s death, the family paid for his nice gravestone and I can sort of picture them standing there saying their final goodbyes.

Daniel’s parents were still living at 53 Midland Street at the time of the 1939 register, so they saw the start of the Second World War and perhaps wondered whether they lost their son in vain. Emma died on 1941 and I can’t find when Daniel senior died. As for John William Hatton, Daniel’s little brother, he was living with his wife Gracie at 5 Lound Road at the time of the 1939 register, dying in 1989. It must have been difficult for John, he lived for 74 years without his younger brother, having lost him when he was aged just 14.

There’s something sad about all war deaths, but for Daniel (or George, his 1911 census and one of his service records call him that) the three houses he lived in have been demolished, his war records are seemingly lost in the fire and the coroner never worked out how he died.