JAY, Frederick

No.202196, Private, Frederick JAY
Aged 28

1st/4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
formerly No.2519, Suffolk Yeomanry
Killed in Action on Monday, 23rd April 1917

Frederick Jay was born in Boyton End, Stoke by Clare on 16th April 1889 (Risbridge Q2-1889 4A:668), baptised in St John the Baptist, Stoke by Clare on 19th May 1889, son of James and Fanny JAY (née SPARKS).

1891 census...Aged 2, he was at Boyton End, Stoke by Clare with his father James JAY [40] farm servant; his mother Fanny [32] born Wixoe; brothers Harry [17] born Wixoe, Albert [14], Ernest [14] and George [12](farm servants), Frank [8], Thomas [4] and Charles {5 months]; sisters Bessie [11], Eliza [9] and Emily [6]. All, except his mother and brother Harry, were born in Stoke by Clare.

1901 census...Aged 12, he was at Hill Farm, Boyon End with his parents (father now horsekeeper); brothers George, Frank and Thomas (all farm labourers), Charles and John [9]; sisters Emily and Rose [7]. The new siblings born in Stoke by Clare.

1911 census...Aged 22, grocer's assistant, he was at Hill Farm, Boyton End, nr Halstead, with his parents, brothers Harry (horsekeeper), Frank (ploughman), Thomas (stockman), Charles (milkman) and John (stockman); sister Roseanna. All 13 siblings survived. The family were still there after his death.

He enlisted in Sudbury.
Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" tells us the 1st/4th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment were in the Neuville Vitasse area at Guemappe, and the 2nd battle of the Scarpe started at 4:45 am on the 23rd, on a nine mile front. The Suffolks with 2 companies in the front line and 2 in support were to drive southwards down its trenches as far as the edge of the Sensee valley and there link up with a brigade to make a full frontal attack on the Hindenburg Line.
All went well at first, reaching the edge of the Sensee valley and taking 650 prisoners. Seventy had been rounded up at one tunnel entrance their escort, a Bantam, when asked how he managed it, replied "I surrounded them". Just as success seemed certain the Germans launched a vigorous counter attack and" A" and "C" companies were forced back. Sheltering in a tunnel was a large force of Germans who came up in the rear. "D" Company being cut off had to cross open country to withdraw. Despite reinforcements from the 5th Scottish Rifles, by 3 pm the enemy had them back to their original barricades. A fresh attack was about to be launched at 6 pm but his was cancelled and the firing stopped by 10 pm.
When dawn broke on the 24th they were amazed to see British troops walking around on the very ground they had fought so hard over the previous day. The Germans had withdrawn during the night!
Casualties were 315, of which 72 were killed, 8 buried in Cojeul, 5 in Wancourt, the rest have no known grave and are named on the Arras memorial.

Frederick Jay is buried in Cojeul British Cemetery, St.Martin Cojeul, grave B:62

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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