- Cement House Cemetery
- Plot: 10
- Row: A
- Grave: 41
Distinctions and medals
Private Henry John Hawkins, a 21-year-old labourer from East Ham, Essex was killed during the Battle of Passchendaele. Henry served in the London Regiment 1/1st Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), part of the 167th (1st London) Brigade, of the 56th (1st London) Division.
At the moment of his death Henry was attached to the London Regiment 2/3rd Battalion (Royal Fusiliers), of the 173rd Brigade, in the 58th (2/1st London) Division. The 2/3rd London Regiment took part in the Second Battle of Passchendaele on 26 October 1917.
The 58th Division attacked from the ruins of Poelcapelle towards Spider Crossroads and the hamlet of Spriet at 5.40 a.m. with the 173rd Brigade. The 173rd Brigade in turn advanced with the 2/2nd and the 2/3rd London Regiment. The 2/4th London Regiment was in support and the 2/1st was in reserve. The 2/3rd advanced to the Spider Crossroads, their first objective, where they came under heavy machine-gun fire. Here they came to a halt.
Between 7.00 a.m. and 10.00 a.m. the Germans counterattacked on the left flank. The 57th Division on their left was forced back, leaving the Spider Crossroads exposed. At the same time another German counterattack from the sunken road between Papa Farm and Whitechapel, pushed the entire Division back to its original lines.
The war diary states that 2/3rd London Regiment went into battle with 15 officers and 616 other ranks. After the 26 October 1917 only 4 officers and 224 other ranks were still ready for duty. 11 officers and 392 other ranks had either been killed, wounded or went missing.
Henry John Hawkins, aged 21, was killed in action during the attack at the Spider Crossroads. He was buried in the field just outside the ruins of Poelcapelle near the Brewery. His remains were exhumed after the war and interred in Cement House Cemetery.