Image of Jesus College war memorial

Ernest George de Latham Hopcraft, Lieutenant, Middlesex Regiment

​Ernest George de Latham Hopcraft came up to Jesus College in October 1906 from Harrow School He attained his BA in 1909 after gaining a second class in the Historical Tripos, Part II.

​Born: Rugby, Warwickshire 28 November 1886

Killed in action: 27 September 1918

​Hopcraft joined the College just as its numbers were expanding.  The 1907 Annual Report for Jesus College Cambridge Society records that in Easter Term 1907 there were “in residence twenty-one men “of or above the degree of M.A., twenty-two B.A.’s, thirty-one in the third and fourth year, fifty-four second year men and fifty freshmen.”  This was an increase of twenty-three from the previous year.  The Report goes on to say “In almost every pursuit – intellectual, social and athletic – the College has certainly held its own, and perhaps a little more”.  (p. 10)

Perhaps in this growing community of students it was all the more difficult to highlight individual successes as we can only find two mentions of Hopcraft in the College archives.  The 1908 Annual Report records that he was given an exhibition award in June 1907.  The second record is in the list of members of the Society at the back of all the Annual Reports, which gives the member’s residence and occasionally profession which in Hopcraft’s case was brewing. The family firm was Hopcraft and Norris of Brackley Northants. 

The obituary for Hopcraft in 1919 adds nothing to his record other than his place and date of death “September 27th, 1918 at Marcoing near Cambrai.” (p. 24). From other sources, it seems that he had been earlier dismissed from the service after an altercation over a billet in France where he struck one of the locals. However he joined the army again as a private soldier and was killed in action. Full details of the story, verified from sources in the National Archives may be found on The Great War Forum. A memorial plaque in All Saints Church, Middleton Cheney reads: 

"He gave his life, his all, for his King and Country, After having fought in Palestine he fell in action,at the assault on the German Hindenberg Line at Marcoing near Cambrai…

At the battle of Flesquieres near Marcoing he gallantly attacked, single handed a German Machine Gun Post and was killed. Gone but never forgotten."

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