Also Served: James Hayes -
41 Columbia Road, Prescot
Sapper 8103, Royal Engineers
Picture and service information kindly provided by John Hayes, James' son.
James Hayes was born in Prescot in 1895, the son of Richard and Jane Hayes. The 1911 census showed that Richard and Jane, living at 41, Columbia Road, Prescot, had 10 children, six of whom were still living. At the time of the census, James was 16 years old, an Apprentice Tin Smith at the Wire Works. Richard Hayes was a Councillor, became Council Leader and had a street named after him - Hayes Avenue.
James was aged 20years and 9months when he voluntarily attested to enlist into the Territorial Force at St Helens on 25 May 1915. He gave as next of kin his mother, Jane Hayes.
He underwent a medical examination which showed him to be of a little below average height and build! He was found fit for service and was accepted into the Territorial Royal Engineers as a sapper with the West Lancashire Divisional RE and allocated the number 8103.
On 2 June 1915 a Mr P C Shaw, engineer at the BI signed a declaration that James was a good apprentice tinsmith, which gained him additional pay increments in 1916 and 1917.
Whilst at training camp in Bangor he was found absent without leave for 4½ hours on 21 February 1916 and fined a day’s pay!
James embarked for service with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force on 4 April 1916 to join the 420 (1/2nd West Lancashire) Field Company RE. The company was on the island of Mudros having withdrawn from Gallipoli.
On 1 January he was allotted a new number – 428161 – in a scheme that saw all men then serving with the TF renumbered. By June 1917, the company had moved to the Salonika theatre, where it remained.
While in Greece he contracted malaria, as did many of his comrades. He had recurring bouts for the rest of his life.
He embarked for home on Christmas Day 1918 and by 23 January 1919 he was in Belmont Road Institution, which was in use as a military hospital in Liverpool. James was deemed to be unfit to return to active service and was discharged on 8 March 1919.
In June 1919, a medical board that considered his case determined that his malaria represented a “40% disablement” and was sufficient grounds for a pension. He was awarded a payment of 11 shillings per week for 6 months from 9 March 1919.
His medal entitlement was the war medal and the victory medal.
After the war he returned to work at the BI. He married Amy Disley in 1942 at Whiston Church and had one son, John. He retired from BICC, as foreman sheet metal worker, in 1959 to live in Cornwall. He died aged 81 in 1975.
Amy Disley was the daughter of Richard Disley, who died in 1921 and is remembered on the main site here.