Rank: Private SD/1056 , Sergeant, 2nd Lieutenant, Lieutenant
Regiment or Ship: 9th and 11th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment, Royal Irish Rifles, 51st Bn Devonshire Regiment
Service Number(s): SD/1056
Occupation: Baker's Boy
Date of Birth: 1895
Place of Birth: Battle, Sussex
Address: 10 Windsor Road, Bexhill
Photos and newspaper articles
Parents: Russell John Hopkins, born 1870 in Surrey, and Charlotte Elizabeth Hopkins, born 1870 in Battle.
Grace Gertrude Hopkins, born 1898 in Battle. (Domestic Servant in 1911.)
Neville Douglas Hopkins, born 1900 in Battle.
George William Hopkins, born 1901 in Stapleton.
Doris Vivian Hopkins, born 1909 in Battle.
Mildred Constance Hopkins, born 1911 in Battle.
Russell (the elder) had three step-children living with him in 1911:-
Albert Charles Mepham, born 1887 in Netherfield. (General Labourer in 1911.)
Harry Alfred Mepham, born 1889 in Battle. (Officer’s Servant in 1911.)
Florence Beatrice Mepham, born 1894 in Wartlington. (Domestic Servant in 1911.)
In the 1911 Census the family were living at Kenwards Yard, Battle, Sussex. Russell – senior – was working as on Oster.
First World War Experience
We do not know much about Russell’s war service – unfortunately, as he was awarded the Military Medal, and we have no details as to what for. He was also awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. He obviously joined up before 10th October 1914 as he is listed in the Bexhill Observer then as ‘serving’.
From 4th March 1916 he was in France and his addresses then were 1) Park Buildings, Battle, Sussex, and 2) The Drill Hall, Battle, Sussex.
On 2nd December 1916 an article appeared in the Bexhill Observer saying that he had been awarded the Military Medal. The following is a transcription of that notice:-
“Sergeant R. J. Hopkins, Royal Sussex Regiment, of 10, Windsor-road, has just been awarded the Military Medal. He has been in France nine months and has taken part in three engagements on the Somme.
Sergeant Hopkins was formerly employed by Mr. W. J. Donne, baker and confectioner, Devonshire-road, Bexhill.”
In the above article Russell’s address is given as 10, Windsor-road, so we can only assume that he was a lodger there, or, indeed, even staying as a friend of the family.
So, Russell was a Private in 1914; a Sergeant in 1916 (in the 9th and 11th Bn Royal Sussex Regiment respectively); and later a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Irish Rifles and, even later, a Lieutenant in the 51st Bt. Devons Regiment.