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|Brigadier-General Sir George William HACKET-PAIN, K.B.E., C.B.|
Commanded the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire
Regiment from February 1900 to February 1904.
George William Hacket-Pain was born on the
5th February 1855.
He joined the British Army in 1875, initially serving part-time in the Royal Wiltshire Militia, and in October 1875 as a Lieutenant of the Militia he passed the qualifying examination of the Civil Service Commissioners. He received his first commission in regular army on 20th November 1875, with the rank of Lieutenant in the 102nd Foot, and shortly afterwards joined the 2nd Regiment of Foot (Queen's Royal Regiment [West Surrey]) on 18th December 1875.
On the 15th February 1886 he was promoted to the rank of Captain, and from 1888, he served in the Sudan during the Mahdist War as a Captain in the Queen's Royal Regiment, and took part in the action at Fort Gamaizah. He also served with the Nile Frontier Force in 1889 winning the Order of Medjidie (Third Class). In February 1891 he was present at the capture of Tokar, in command of a battalion of Egyptian infantry where his horse was shot from under him. At the end of the war, he was awarded the Order of Osmanieh (Third Class) which he was given a Royal Licence to wear on his British Army uniform.
On the 16th May 1894 he was promoted to rank of Major and transferred from the Queen's Royal West Surrey Regiment to the Worcestershire Regiment. He served with the Dongola Expeditionary Force under Major-General Sir Herbert Kitchener in 1896 (serving on secondment to the Egyption Army). He was given commanded the 9th Soudanese Battalion, taking part in battle at Firket ( 7th June 1896), in which his horse was again shot. He was also involved in the operations at Hafir (30th September 1896) He was mentioned in despatches twice ( 19th September and 3rd November 1896).
On the 18th November 1896 he was given the
rank of Brevet Lieut.-Colonel. Still employed with the Egyptian Army, he served in Egypt with the Nile Expedition as an Acting Adjutant-General of the Egyptian Army at their
base from 1896 to 1898.
On the 27th December 1898, he married Saidie Merton ( from a Jewish family), an Australian, at Cairo.
He served in South Africa throughout the South African War of 1899-1902 with the 2nd Battalion Worcestershire Regiment, initially as commander of 'J' Battery guns. After Lieut.-Colonel Charles Coningham and Major Arthur Kennedy Stubbs were both killed at Worcester Kopjes, Slingerfontein on the 12th February 1900 was killed, he took command of the 2nd Battalion and was promoted to full rank of Lieut.-Colonel on the 17th February 1900.
He was in command of the 2nd Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment from 12th February 1900 to 17th February 1904, and was Commander of Troops at Rietfontein from October to December 1900. During the war he took part in operations in Colesberg in January and February 1900, in Lindley on 26th June, Bethlehem on 6 and 7 July, and Wittebergen throughout July 1900. He was again mentioned in despatches on the 10th September 1901.
Hacket- Pain was honoured for his service in the South African War by being made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (C.B.) on 27th September 1901, and on the 10th December 1901 he was promoted as a Brevet Colonel.
He was promoted to rank of full Colonel on 23rd February 1907, and in 1908 he was given command of the South Midland district, in which post he served for the next three years.
He was put on half pay on 21st April 1911, and left the Army on Retired Pay on 5th February 1912.
After his retirement from the Army he played a key role in the organization of the Ulster Volunteers, who were
involved in active resistance to Home Rule (which began early in 1912) in the north of Ireland. Hacket-Pain was among the considerable number of professional soldiers who joined the Ulster Volunteers. He was made Chief of Staff to Lieutenant-General Sir George Richardson, the Commander-in-Chief, and the high degree of efficiency attained by the force in a comparatively short time was to a large extent due to him. Moreover, he was always believed to have planned and carried out the famous gun-running incident of the 25th April 1914, when a mysterious Norwegian steamer called 'Fanny' (disguised as the 'Mountjoy') was filled full of 35,000 rifles from Germany, after an eventful voyage, landed the rifles and ammunition at Larne, Bangor and Donaghadee having outwitted Customs. In a few hours the cargo had been distributed all over North-East Ulster by a well-organised service of motor vehicles (500 cars). The authorities were completely outwitted, and the exploit made Sir Edward Carson for the moment nearly as popular among Southern Sinn Feiners as he was among Northern Unionists.
The Ulster Volunteers preparations for civil war was cut-short by the outbreak of the First World War. Hacket-Pain now re-enlisted into the British Army, and raised the 108th Infantry Brigade (part of the 36th (Ulster) Division) by recruiting the Ulster Volunteers. The Army welcomed the fact that the Volunteers were trained and armed, and Hacket-Pain was appointed on the 4th September 1914, to command the 108th Infantry Brigade in France. After two years (1916) he transferred back to Ireland to command the Northern Ireland district, where he served for three years.
As Chief Military Officer he faced the opening of the Irish War of Independence. In August 1919 he prohibited an Irish Nationalist procession from marching on the city walls of Derry, fearing that grave disorders would occur.
On the 1st November 1919 he retired from the Army again with the rank of Brigadier-General, and received the award of Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (K.B.E.). However, he was immediately re-employed as Divisional Commander of the Royal Irish Constabulary (R.I.C.) in Belfast. Nationalist M.P. Joseph Devlin complained that this meant the Chief of Staff in Carson's army was responsible for protecting Roman Catholics. After riots and the murder of an R.I.C. District Inspector in Lisburn, Hacket-Pain put the town under military control in August 1920, but was reported to have resigned in early November 1920.
On the 18th January 1922, Hacket-Pain was returned unopposed as Member of Parliament as Unionist Member for South Londonderry. His election came after the Government of Ireland Act 1920 had provided for a reduction of the number of Members of Parliament representing Ireland, which made it unlikely that Hacket-Pain would have a long Parliamentary career. He made his maiden, and only, speech on the 10th May 1922 in support of the Constabulary (Ireland) Bill. Hacket-Pain served on the Standing Committee examining the Bill.
He Retired as a M.P. at the general election in October 1922, after which he lived at the United Services Club in Pall Mall for a short time. In October 1923 he was taken ill and became a patient at King Edward VII Convalescent Home for Officers at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. He died there on 14th February 1924 (age 69), and was buried at Whippingham, East Cowes, Isle of Wight, on 18th February 1924.
Major Thomas Archibald Hacket-Pain served with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards was killed in action on the 14th May 1940 during the British Expeditionary Force retreat to Dunkirk.