HAYES, Arthur John

No.64184, Private, Arthur John HAYES
Aged 40

9th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
formerly No. M/284137, Army Service Corps
Died of his Wounds (in captivity) on Friday, 31st May 1918

Arthur John HAYES was born in Charlton, Northants on 30th May 1878,(Brackley Q3-1878 3B:1) son of Harry Hawkins and Sarah Ann HAYES (née HILL).

1881 census...Aged 2, he was in Charlton, Northants, with his father Harry H. HAYES [25] schoolteacher, born Burslem, Staffs and his mother Sarah Ann [24] born Tatenhill, Staffs.

1891 census...Aged 12, he was at the Schoolhouse, West Row with his parents and aunt Henrietta HILL [15] born Tatenhill, Staffs

On 17th December 1899 he married Luton born Margaret FENSOM, in St Asaph, Birmingham.

1901 census...Aged 22, an ironmonger's assistant, he was at 10 Roger's Hill, Worcester, with his wife Margaret [23]. His parents were still at the School House, West Row.

1911 census...Arthur and Margaret have so far not been found in the 1911 census. Their address during the war was "Plym", Station Road, Loughton, Essex. His parent's were still at the School House, West Row.

His pension card gives his wife as still living in Station Road, Loughton.

He enlisted in the Army Service Corps in Grove Park. He was captured on 12th April 1918 during the battle of the Messines Ridge with a bullet wound in the back (Gewehr Geschoss Rücken). He gave his place of birth as Banbury, Northants and date of birth as 30th May 1879.( the year seems to have been recorded incorrectly) It appears that he died of his wounds at Wesel in Germany on 31st May 1918. The graves of those who died in Germany were concentrated after the war to 4 main cemeteries, in Arthur's case, to Köln Sud Friedhof Cologne South Cemetery)

The battalion diary has for 12th April (2 weeks after the start of the huge German Spring offensive):-
11th/12th..The night passed quietly - the enemy Very lights could be seen however, gradually drawing closer. About 7am he had been located in the copse at 36.B.3 central and movement in our positions attracted the fire of snipers. Shelling increased from 8am onwards. No further enemy were seen on the battalion front except an occasional solitary man, but he was seen in large numbers on our own right and around the NIEPPE-BAILLEUL road. At 10:40 am he was seen to bring field guns out of NIEPPE at a gallop and get them into action about B.9.C.
A battalion of the MONMOUTHS on our right suffered heavily from these guns and from trench mortars. At 4:30 pm the enemy (who by that time had massed his troops) delivered an attack astride the BAILLEUL road and broke through the battalion's right. No news was forthcoming of the MONMOUTHS and there were no troops to reinforce the right flank. Heavy enfilade fire was being opened on the battalion from the S side of the road. It was decided therefore to withdraw on to the high ground around NEUVE EGLISE which was strongly occupied by machine guns. During the night a general withdrawal of the Brigade into support was ordered to the line NEUVE EGLISE-RAVELSBURG-MONTde LILLE.

After years of static warfare, movement was now the order of the day, unfortunately for the Allies, in the wrong direction. The 9th Cheshires had 14 killed on the 12th April.

His battalion were operating in the marked area on 12th April 1918

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Arthur Hayes is buried in Cologne Southern Cemetery, grave 11:F:3
also commemorated on the war memorial in Loughton, Essex and originally on Mildenhall memorial

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