LT. George John Hatch - "Trench" Watch

George Hatch acquired his trench watch shortly after his December 1916 promotion to the Royal Flying Corps; it is engraved “Lt. G. J. Hatch / RFC”. He used it continuously; the silver case is corroded and the original leather strap is well-worn.

 

Hatch’s watch was acquired by Russ Cook (Brasildon, Essex) in 2014 at a second-hand market; “I recently bought this Trench watch at one such market. I am not an expert on these, but it felt right, and I was very taken with the very sad story that emerged when I read the accompanying paperwork. The box, with the watch had just been thrown in another larger box, as if it had just been discarded. On the case back is a dedication to an officer in the RFC, Lt. G. J. Hatch [Royal Flying Corps, precursor to the RAF], with a very old handwritten note giving the history of the young man, who tragically was killed in action 6/4/17….”

Inside a small (3 ½” x 1 ½” x 2”) leather-covered box, Russ found Lt Hatch’s watch, and the following hand-written note: “Lt. George John Hatch R.F.C. ~~  K in A 6/14/17 ~~ 17th County of London Battalion ~~ The London Regiment Poplar and Stepney Rifles”

Russ Cook had the watch serviced by a local watchmaker. It is non-branded watch, and features a pin-set movement (you push a small button just below the crown with your fingernail to set the time).