Venice Hackett V.A.D.
Venice Clementia Henrietta Hackett was born at noon on 27 February 1887 in Strathblane, Scotland. She was the daughter of Edward Augustus Hackett and Emilie Elliott Hackett (née Henry).
Edward Augustus Hackett was a civil engineer for the Natal Government Railways. He married Emily Elliott Henry on 28 July 1883 in St Saviour’s Cathedral, Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. Their other children were Learo Aylmer Henry, born in 1885 in Estcourt, Natal, South Africa; Geraldine Emilie, born Powerstown, Clonmel, circa 1890; Eric Adrian Nethercote, born in Molbrooke, Clonmel circa 1896 and twins Alma Evelyn and Edward Fawcett born in Clonmel circa 1900.
The 1901 census records the family as living in 2, Bellevue Place, Clonmel, County Tipperary. Venice is recorded as a scholar. On the 1911 census Venice is recorded with her family on 2, Main Street, Portalington, Queen’s County.
Venice enrolled in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.) in August 1916. Her address was given as Castletown Park, Ballycumber, King’s County. She served in France attached to the British Red Cross Society from April 1917 until October 1918. Venice died from pneumonia while returning home from France on 13 October 1918. She was repatriated and brought home to Ireland where she was buried in the graveyard at Liss Church of Ireland Church, King’s County. Her service entitled her to the British War medal and Victory medal, her family would have also received a memorial plaque bearing ‘She died for freedom and honour’.
Venice was not the only sacrifice the Hackett family made. Learo Hackett was killed in action whilst serving as a captain with the Royal Irish Rifles on 24 April 1918. He had previously served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers. In September 1917 he had been awarded the Miliary Cross ‘For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in commanding his company during an attack. In conjunction with another company he knocked out an enemy strong point, capturing 30 officer and 70 of other ranks, also five machine guns. Throughout the day he set a splendid example of leadership’. He is buried in Minty Farm Cemetery, Belgium.
Additional Eric Adrian Nethercote was killed in action at Ginchy, France on 9 September 1916. He was serving as a second lieutenant with the Royal Irish Regiment. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.
Before the erection of a CWGC headstone, Venice was commemorated on a headstone with her brother Learo. The inscription reads:
VENICE C H HACKETT V.A.D.
DIED RETURNING FROM FRANCE
AFTER 2 YEARS SERVICE 13TH OCT 1918
CAPT LEARO A H HACKETT M.C.
R M FUS & R.I.RIF. KILLED AT YPRES
24TH APL 1918
INTERRED MINTY FARM YPRES
SERVED WITH DESTINCTION IN BATTLES
OF MESSENES YPRES (3RD) CAMBRI ST
QUINTIN – AMIENS 1918
LOVED ELDEST DAUGHTER & SON OF
EDWARD A & EMILIE HACKETT
THEY STAKED THEIR LIVES FOR OTHER