Lance Corporal 25116 William Hayes

Killed in Action on Sunday, 30th September 1917, age 20.
Commemorated on Panel 99 to 102 and 162 to 162A of Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

11th Bn., Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regt.). 70th Brigade of 23rd Division.

Son of Joseph and Eliza Jane Hayes, of 35, Coppice St., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Wolverhampton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/839041/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
29 Hurst Lane, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Hayes (35, Ironworker, born Tipton), his wife Eliza Jane (34, born Tipton), and their 8 children: Sarah A. (13, born Tipton), Joseph (12, born Tipton), Florence (10, born Tipton), James (9, born Tipton), Thomas (6, born Tipton), William (5, born Tipton), Edith (2, born Tipton), and Emma (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
35 Coppice Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Hayes (46, Ironworker, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (46, born Tipton), and 8 of their 10 surviving children of 13: Joseph (22, Miner, born Tipton), James (18, Moulder, born Tipton), Thomas (14, Dresser, born Tipton), William (13, Labourer, born Tipton), Edith (12, born Tipton), Emma (7, born Tipton), John (3, born Tipton), and Gladys (1, born Tipton).

Personal Data

William's brother, James Reuben Hayes, was killed on 31st July 1917 serving with the 2nd Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment.

After William's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £5/13/3d (5 pounds, 13 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his mother and sole legatee, Eliza J., in February 1918. His War Gratuity was £11/0/0d (11 pounds precisely), this was also paid to his mother in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in April 1915.

Action resulting in his death

Prior to the Battle of Polygon Wood on 26th September, the Australians made a preliminary attack on Polygon Wood on the 23rd September. On their right, from Polygon Wood to the Menin Road, was 23rd Division. The 11th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (11/SF) were part of 70th Brigade of 23rd Divison, 70th Brigade were the reserve Brigade for this attack. On the 23rd/24th September the 70th Brigade took over the front line from the 68th Brigade in the area of 'Tower Hamlets', close to the Menin Road. After suffering shelling for most of 24th September, the 11/SF were relieved on the night of 24th/25th September, about 10 men were killed mainly due to shell fire.

On 27th September, 11/SF came back into the same location, from Polygon Wood to about 100 yards north of the Menin Road. Inaccurate German shelling was not corrected until 29th September, when their shells began to find their accuracy. The 11/SF were again relieved on the 30th September.

The Battalion History 'The Men from the Greenwood' says: "Communication throughout the whole of the attack was a great difficulty. Movement by day was impossible; the snipers on the high ground at Tower Hamlets prevented this and by night the ground had become so impassible that unless routes were taped out, there was no means of assuring that any party would reach its destination."

On 30th September, 4 men of the 11/SF were killed including William Hayes, we cannot tell if this was due to artillery or rifle fire. William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

Newspaper Cuttings

Tipton Herald January 23rd 1915
Hayes T. 35 Coppice Street (Regiment unknown).
Hayes J. 35 Coppice Street (Regiment unknown).

Tipton Herald September 1st 1917
The death in action has been reported of Private James Reuben Hayes, 24, whose parents reside at 35 Coppice Street, Tipton Green, and whose wife and child live in Court 2, Union Street, Tipton. He is the son of Mr Joseph Hayes, who like his deceased son, was employed at Messrs. Bullers.
Mr and Mrs Hayes have ten children living, and four of their five sons were in the army, the remaining boy going to school. Three of the sons joined the army soon after the outbreak of war. Joseph Hayes (the eldest) is aged 28 and single; James (24) has been killed, Thomas (21) has been for six months in a military hospital at Huntingdon and William (20) is in France (later killed Sept 30th 1917).
The late Private James Hayes had not been in the army much more than six months when he met his death, he joined up early in the new year.
The Chaplain of the Battalion and the Captain of the deceased's Company have written to the young widow sympathising with her in her great loss.

Wednesbury Borough News January 12th 1918
The death in action has been reported of Lance-Corporal William Hayes, aged 21, whose parents reside at 35, Coppice Street, Tipton Green. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hayes, and like his father, was employed at Bullers Ltd.
Mr. and Mrs. Hayes had ten children, and four of the five sons were in the army, the younger one going to school. Three of the sons joined at the outbreak of the war. Joseph Hayes (the eldest) is 28 and single; James (24) was killed after being in the army about six months; Thomas (22) is now in Ireland, and has been wounded three times. His brother, William, was killed on September 30th last.