WW1 Casualty: Private 3106 Frank Hayes -
Private 3106 Frank Hayes
||5th Bn, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
|Date of Death
||Age at Death
Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner
I C 19
|CWGC Family Details (if shown)
||Son of Thomas and Emily Hayes, of "Clifton," Old Lane, Eccleston Park, Prescot, Lancs.
||1901 Census -
Living at 11, Lancaster Terrace, Prescot, were Thomas Hayes, a 35 year old Watch Balance Maker, his wife Emily, 36, and children Frank, aged 7, and Harold aged 2.
||Birth Registered Q1/1894, Prescot, 8b, 747
|Research Ref. No.
On the 21st February, the 5th (Territorial) Battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) left Canterbury, where they had been in training, and headed by train for Southampton. They boarded the "Duchess of Argyle" and "Queen Empress" and sailed for France. The battalion consisted of 31 officers and 1,100 other ranks.
They sailed at 5.30 p.m. and arrived at Le Havre around midnight, disembarking at 8 a.m. the next day. They then marched to rest Camp No 1 at Adresse where they were accommodated for the day. The weather was so cold that fur coats were issued, along with other clothing and necessities.
Late on the afternoon of the 23rd, they left Le Havre for Bethune, where they would form part of the 6th Infantry Brigade. On 25th, they marched on to Vendin-lez-Bethune, where they had been allotted billets.
On 8th March, the battalion were still undergoing instruction in trench warfare when 6th Infantry Brigade received orders to attack the enemy on the morning of the 10th.
The Battle of Neuve Chappelle was the main action on this date, and it was supported by a "holding attack" at Givenchy. The purpose of this was to prevent the enemy from transferring troops to the scene of the main attack. In this, the 5th were to fight alongside the 1st battalion.
The attack was against the German trenches opposite Givenchy and the 1st battalion were recorded as fighting "most gloriously" in "one of the finest things ever done". The 5th were also for the first time, engaged in battle, though the battalion itself did not attack, but was split up and attached to the attacking columns, and was also placed in the front line trenches to maintain a covering fire during the operation.
Ultimately, the attack was a failure owing mainly to the uncut barbed wire entanglements. But it did succeed in preventing the enemy from sending reinforcements to the main attack. The behaviour of "B" and "D" companies, who had been attached to the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, was especially commended by the Commanding Officer of the latter regiment. The rifles were withdrawn from the line, leaving the two companies of the 5th holding the front line trenches.
The Prescot Reporter of 19th March 1915 reported,
“DIED DOING HIS DUTY”
PRESCOT SOLDIER KILLED IN ACTION
THE FIRST CASUALTY
Below is a photo of the late Rifleman Frank Hayes of the 5th Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool) Regiment, eldest son of Mr. And Mrs. T. Hayes of Chorley Villa, Warrington-road, Prescot, who was killed on Wednesday last at Guenchy.
Rifleman Hayes was 21 years of age and previous to joining His Majesty’s Forces was employed in the General Office of the B.I. and H.C. Ltd., Prescot. He was a Sunday School scholar at the Holt Congregational Sunday School, and was also a member of the church and the choir. He joined his regiment on 14th November 1914, volunteered for active service, and was drafted to France on 21st February 1915.
The following letter has been received by his parents –
‘ Mr. T. Hayes,
It is with the deepest regret that I have to inform you that your son, Rifleman F. Hayes, No 3106, of this company, was unfortunately killed in action on Wednesday 10th March 1915 at Guenchy-les-la-Bassee. I felt the death very much myself, as this is the first fatality that has happened in my company since our arrival here, but I know your feelings can be nothing to yours in such a sad event.
I can only say he died doing his duty for his King and country, and on behalf of myself and comrades, I beg to express their sincere sympathy on your sad bereavement, and the officers of the company also join in offering you their deepest sympathy.
His body has been suitably buried in one of the small military cemeteries in the village of Guenchy-les-la-Bassee.
I send you herewith a few of your son’s belongings found on his person, in case they should be of interest.
CHAS. J. GRIERSON
Coy. Sergt.-Major, “D”. Co.
5th Batt., the King’s (Liverpool Regt.),
British Expeditionary Force
Private Hayes, with an incorrect initial of "T", was reported as being killed in action by the Liverpool Echo on 20th April 1915
Frank Hayes was originally buried close to where he fell but after the war his body was reinterred in Guards Cemetery. In addition to his headstone at Guards, his family also erected a memorial to him (pictured below) in Prescot Churchyard.
Prescot Reporter 14th September 1917
Frank Hayes’ Medal Index Card.
Frank Hayes memorial stone in Prescot Churchyard with an enlargement of the inscription below