William Hann was born towards the end of 1871, the son of Harry Hann, who was a stonemason, and his wife Susan. Born in Stoke-under-Ham (now Stoke-sub-Hamdon), he was one of nine children, although sadly five of his siblings passed away at a young age.
Sadly, little of William’s early life remains documented. A newspaper article that reported on his passing, however, confirms that he served in the Royal Field Artillery, and was based in India for four years, before being shipped to South Africa to fight in the Boer War.
Back in Somerset in the early 1900s, he married a woman called Ellen, and the couple went on to have four children – Hilda, Herbert, Kate and Louisa.
At the outbreak of the [First World War], though under no obligation, [Gunner Hann] responded to the call of duty and was among the first to volunteer from Stoke. He was attached to the Indian Expeditionary Force and sent to France, and it is interesting to know that he saw some of the native soldiers whom he had bet while serving in India many years ago.
After serving in France for some time, he was transferred to Mesopotamia, and it was there that his health became impaired, which made him an easy victim of the disease which caused his death.Western Chronicle: Friday 1st June 1917
Gunner Hann had contracted cellulitis in his right arm, which turned septic. He returned home on sick leave on 22nd May 1917, but died at home from blood poisoning just two days later. He was 48 years of age.
William Hann was laid to rest in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, in his home village of Stoke-sub-Hamdon.