LANCE SERJEANT ALBERT HAMPSHIRE
20TH APRIL 1918 AGE 34
BURIED: ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY, FRANCE
As the Cenotaph in Whitehall is taciturn so the tomb of the Unknown Warrior in Westminster Abbey is loquacious. The Cenotaph has a mere three words carved onto it - The Glorious Dead - and originally just the dates MCMXIV - MXMXIX (1914-1919). These have now been joined by two more dates MCMXXXIX - MCMXLV (1939-1945). The tomb of the Unknown Warrior has 155 words. There is the main dedication, sonorous, resonant, explicit, and then round the edge of the stone, four texts.
Albert Hampshire's inscription is one of these texts. The words come from 2 Corinthians 6:9 and suggest the comfort that even those who are not famous are 'known', and that through Christ we shall all 'live'.
Hampshire had been a regular soldier. The 1911 census shows him to have been a private in the Coldstream Guards, living in Victoria Barracks, Doncaster. But he was no longer a soldier by the outbreak of war. One of his parents' eleven children, their father, George, was a farmer in High Melton, Yorkshire. Albert's younger brother, Richard, was killed in action at Passchendaele on 9 October 1917; George Hampshire died in January 1918, and Albert was died of wounds in hospital at Etaples three months later. Richard Hampshire is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, Mrs Eliza Hampshire, their mother, chose Albert's inscription.