Thomas Hayes is not on the war memorial but he is included here because he is on the list of absent voters of Saxlingham Nethergate in 1918. His address at that time is given as New Cottages, Saxlingham Nethergate. It seems that he or his wife lived in the village for only a short time.
He was born in Wroxton, Banbury, Oxfordshire on 9 July 1879. His parents were Eliza and Thomas Hayes. His father was a farmer and died, before Thomas was born, in February 1879. Thomas was baptised in the local church on 31 August 1879 and the records record that his father was dead.
Thomas had two sisters and a brother.
Sarah Ann born 171
James born 1873
Mary Ann born 1877
The family continued to live in Wroxton after his father’s death. At the age of 20 years Thomas was working as a groom. In 1901 he is recorded as being a visitor at the home of George Gattrell, a coachman, at 2 Rutland Mews, Holy Trinity, Brompton, Kensington.
Sometime before 1911 he moved to Jamaica where he worked as a planter. There is no record of him in the English Census of 1911.
In May 1914 he travelled on SS Orotavia from St Andrews, Jamaica to New York arriving there on 20 May 1914. He gave his occupation as a planter, he was single and his final destination was England. He must have returned to Jamaica a few months later as he did a repeat of the journey in December 1914. This time he travelled on SS Essequibo. He gave his last address as that of his friend Dr. Lochett, Hope Gardens, Jamaica. He arrived in Liverpool via New York on 27 December 1914.
On 6 August 1915 he enlisted in Honourable Artillery Company, Service Number 4161. His address at the time was 8 Bovingdon Road, Fulham, London. He stated that he had served previously with the City of London Regiment and had been discharged at the end of the South African War.
He was 5 feet 4 inches tall with a 38 inch chest. He gave his mother Eliza Hayes, Banbury as his next of kin. He served in France from 3 March 1916.
He was admitted to hospital between 7 and 14 July 1916 with tonsillitis.
On 10 April 1917 he was attached to the 90th Brigade and became the groom for Lieutenant Simmons. He travelled to England on 23 June 1917 on leave. This leave was extended to the end of the year but it is difficult to read in his service records as to why.
He married Ella E Grant in 1917. She was born 26 June 1881. She came from Norfolk and in 1911 was the head teacher of a school in Thetford, Norfolk.
He was given permission by the army to extend his leave to travel to Jamaica to sort out his affairs. His property was stored there and it was liable to be damaged if not attended to. He travelled from Liverpool on 22 December 1917 on the SS Baltic to New York arriving there on 2 January 1918, and then on to Jamaica. His occupation was given as soldier in transit. His last address was given as being Violet Bank, Swainsthorpe, Norfolk. It was the address of his wife.
He sailed from Kingston, Jamaica on 9 February 1918 on SS Carrillo, his final destination being London. He gave his occupation as soldier. He was 38 years old.
He did not return to France. He became an acting corporal on 7 March 1919 and was discharged on 3 May 1919.
After the end of the War he had a lengthy correspondence with the War Office, wanting them to pay for one of his journeys from Jamaica. He supplied them with copies of his tickets. He also supplied references. One from Colonel Hammond, Castle Hill, Middleham, York and one from R.J. Preston Esq., 7 Bedford Court, London.
The War Office said that there was no evidence to show that he had come to England with the intention of enlisting in the army. He would have had to have enlisted within two months of arriving and he did not do that. He arrived in December 1914 but did not enlist until August 1915 and so was not eligible for his passage to be paid. He eventually accepted that.
On 18 November 1919 when he was corresponding with the War Office they lived at Good Hope, 318 London Road, South Lowestoft
In 1939 he was the landlord of The Fox Inn, Hadleigh, Suffolk. Also living at the address was his wife and his sister -in- law Ellen M Grant. She was born 2 March 1863.
It is not known if they had any children.
Ella Elizabeth Hayes died on 10 June 1956. She lived with her husband at 2 Maidstone Road, Walton, Felixtowe, Suffolk.
Thomas Hayes died eight days later, on 18 June 1956 in the General Hospital, Felixtowe. His sister Sarah Ann Hayes, who had never married, administered both wills.
England & Wales, Birth, marriage, death index 1837-2005
UK Census Collection
British Army Medal Roll Index cards, 1914-1920
British Army WW1 Service Records.
1939 Register- www.findmypast.co.uk
Norfolk Electoral Rolls-Southern Division Saxlingham Nethergate and Thorpe, (Absent Voters Lists 1918-1920)
New York, Passenger and Crew Lists 1820- 1957
England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858-1995
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