|Date of Birth||October 22, 1894|
|Place of Birth||Conn, Wellington County, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||John Wesley Hatch (father), Dryden, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Accountant for Clerk (Ledger)|
|Battalion||Royal Air Force (Canada)|
|Branch||Royal Air Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Winnipeg, Manitoba|
|Address at Enlistment||Dryden, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||October 22, 1917|
|Age at Enlistment||23|
|Theatre of Service||Canada|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||19690318|
|Age at Death||74|
Corporal Ralph Douglas Hatch enlisted with the Royal Flying Corps in October 1917 and served for 18 months in Canada. After the war he moved to Cuba to work for the Royal Bank and he lived there for about forty years.
Ralph was the youngest son of John Wesley Hatch and Sarah Kirkness of Dryden, Ontario. Wesley and Sarah were married in Wellington County, Ontario in 1886 and they settled in the hamlet of Conn in Luther Township West, where Wesley worked as a miller. Two sons and a daughter were born there: James Wesley (1888), Mary Myrtle (1892) and Ralph Douglas (22 October 1894). By the time of the 1901 census the family had moved to northwestern Ontario. Wesley took up farming and they lived in the township of Van Horne on the outskirts of Dryden. Their fourth and youngest child, daughter Effie Rubena, was born in July 1902. When the 1911 census was taken Ralph was 16 years old and living at home in Van Horne with his parents and three siblings.
In the fall of 1915 the war entered its second year and Ralph’s brother James enlisted in January 1916, signing up in Dryden with the 94th Battalion and going overseas in June. Ralph was out west at the time, working at a bank in the small town of Magrath, south of Lethbridge, Alberta. By the following year he had returned to Ontario and he was on the staff of the Royal Bank in Kenora. In early October 1917 he went to Winnipeg along with three other local lads and passed the preliminary exams as a candidate for the Royal Flying Corps. The four recruits returned to Winnipeg on 17 October and Ralph signed his attestation there with the RFC on 22 October. He listed his occupation as Accountant for Clerk (Ledger) and his address as Dryden. He was sent to Toronto and officially appointed into the Royal Flying Corps on 26 October.
Ralph served for 18 months in Canada, most likely doing clerical work at the Toronto area RFC headquarters. On 1 April 1918 the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service were amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force and he was transferred to the RAF. On 1 December 1918 he was appointed Acting Corporal/Clerk and three weeks later he was promoted to Corporal/Clerk. The Armistice was signed in November and by the spring of 1919 Royal Air Force operations in Canada were winding down. Ralph received his discharge on 5 April, ‘in consequence of being surplus to R.A.F. requirements.’
Ralph had returned home before his official discharge date and at the end of March he left for Cuba. He spent the next forty years there working for the Royal Bank of Canada. He was married in Cuba on 11 May 1922 to Guillermina Ina Agramonte y Rodriguez and they had two daughters and a son. Ralph made at least one trip back to Canada, travelling there with his wife and baby daughter in 1925. Around 1960 he retired to Atlanta, Georgia and he passed away in Atlanta on 18 March 1969, at age 74. His wife died in Sarasota, Florida in May 1977.
By Becky Johnson
Photos and obituary are courtesy of Hatch family tree (by Judy Stockham) on ancestry.com.