Rank: Private 67987
Regiment: 114th Company Machine Gun Corps (Infantry); previously South Wales Borderers
Died: 31 August 1917
Beer Memorial Cross, St Michael's Church Tablet, Beer
Other Memorial: Bard Cottage Cemetery, near Ypres [Google]
PDF Download: HOOKINGS Reginald
The third of 10 children, Reginald Hookings, known as Reggie, was born in Beer in 1893. Both his parents, William John Hookings, known as Jack, a fish dealer and hawker, and Eliza Hookings, were born in Beer. Like his elder brother Thomas, Reggie worked as a mason’s labourer.
On 2 October 1915 Reggie married Caroline Elizabeth Watts at Cardiff Register Office, and on 3 February 1917 they had a daughter, Gwendoline Carrie Rosina.
When he enlisted in January 1916 he was living at 51 Vale Street, Barry, Glamorgan, which explains why he initially joined the South Wales Borderers, the local regiment there.
He gave his occupation as seaman, so it seems he was another Beer man who had moved to Cardiff because of the work to be had in the thriving port there. His Army record describes his height on enlistment as 5 feet 7 inches, with a 37-inch chest. He was later transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, although the date of this is not recorded.
Army records also show that he was wounded on 3 April 1917, although there are no details of the severity of the wound.
The Pulman’s Weekly News of 2 October 1917 reported: ‘A soldier's death from wounds -- Mr and Mrs Hookings of Fore Street have been notified that their son, Private Reginald Hookings, of the Machine Gun Corps, died of wounds in France on August 31st. He joined the Army in January 1916, and had been on active service since March. An officer, writing to Mrs Hookings, describes him as “a fearless soldier, who did good work under heavy fire.” Much sympathy is felt with Mr and Mrs Hookings in their sad loss. They have two other sons serving, Private Edward Hookings, now in France, and Jack Hookings, in the Navy.’
The same report mentioned that Reggie’s brother Edward, serving with the Gloucesters, had been wounded by shrapnel on 19 August, and was recovering in a base hospital in France.
The final entry in Reggie’s Army record is a note acknowledging receipt of his British War and Victory Medals, signed by his widow, Caroline, on 26 April 1922.
By then Caroline had remarried, and signed her name as Caroline Bubbins. She was still living at 51 Vale Street in Barry.
Private Hookings is remembered with honour in the Bard Cottage Cemetery, near Ypres in Belgium.
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