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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 41098
1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers
Who died on Thursday, 11th April 1918
Age 20

No Known Grave. Panel 5
Ploegsteert Memorial to the "Missing", Berks Cemetery Extension, West Flanders, Belgium

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Ploegsteert Memorial

Ploegsteert Memorial to the "Missing", Berks Cemetery Extension, West Flanders, Belgium1

Claude Edward was the eldest son of Edward and Annie (née Brown) Hayes of 24 Derby Street, Beeston. Edward, who was both in Hathern, Leicestershire, worked as the head shunter on the Midland Railway. Claude was born in Beeston on the 28th January 1898, and started at Nether Street School, at the age of six on the 29th August 19042. He left school at the age of thirteen on 24th March 1911, and found employment at a firm in Ilkeston, Derbyshire3.

It was from here that he enlisted as No 63365 in the local Sherwood Foresters Regiment, giving his address at the time as living in Derby. He was later transferred to 1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers and was killed in action while serving with that regiment.

The Hayes family in Derby Street, like so many thousand of others, were informed that their son Private Hayes was missing presumed dead as is body was never found.

On Saturday 30th August 1919, Mrs Hayes received a letter from a Private A Standing of Leeds who was a great friend of Claude's when they served together in the same platoon. Private Standing had been taken prisoner by the Germans on the day Claude was reported as missing. Private Standing stated he ascertained on his repatriation that Private Claude Hayes was still on the "missing list" and continued as follows:

"We left Passchendaele where we had been for a long time and came away for a rest, our ultimate destination being Arras. An order came through however that the enemy had broken through near Armentieres and we were hurried off in motors to that sector alighting at a place called Merville. We dug ourselves in at that place and a terrible machine gun barrage commenced, the Germans practically surrounding us. We retired to a hedge and your son was one of the lucky ones to get through. The enemy were still advancing and his machine guns were literally slaughtering us, and your son and myself had to run along a country road which was like a hailstorm with bullets. The officer with us was the first to get hit. Claude received bullets in his leg. I saw him fall in agony. Stretcher bearers were called for but they had all either been wounded or killed. I was captured less than five minutes afterwards and I could tell that your son would not survive the day."
Memoriam, Beeston Gazette & West Notts Echo Saturday April 10th 1919

Hayes - Private Claude Edward killed April 18th 1918
Dear to us than words can tell,
Are thoughts of him we loved so well,

From Sorrowing Father and Mother, Brother and Sisters.

1The photograph of Ploegsteert Memorial to the "Missing", Berks Cemetery Extension, West Flanders, Belgium is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2He appears in the school Admission Register as number 3459.
3The 1911 Census ( Piece 1223 RD429 SD3 ED1 Schedule 91) shows him working as an errand boy for a grocer, presumably a temporary job. The family is then living at 24 Derby Street, Beeston. As well Claude and as his parents, his younger siblings are also present - Clarice (age 11), Ralph (age 8) and Doris (age 4).

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