Corporal Harold Ingersoll Hayes

Regiment: 13th Battalion Royal Sussex
Service No:  SD/2699
Date and place of birth: 1895 in Ponders End, Middlesex
Date and place of death:  30 June 1916 in France

Harold Ingersoll Hayes is commemorated on a plaque in the NatWest Bank, Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst, Sussex

Family Background

In 1901 Harold Hayes (6) was living with his older brother Cedric George (8) with their widowed father, George N Hayes at 13 Scotland Green, Enfield, Middlesex.  He was a florist and gardener, aged 47, his wife Kathleen, nee Ingersoll, had died in 1897 aged 27.

George Hayes died in 1905 and in 1911 Harold (16) was at school and living with his unmarried aunt, Emily Ingersoll (38) of private means, at 41 North Parade, Horsham, Sussex.  Also living there was her younger sister Bridie Cropley, married with a one year old son. George Cedric (sic) (18) also lived there and was working as an auctioneer’s clerk.

At some time between leaving school and joining the army, Harold Hayes is assumed to have worked at the branch of the London and County Bank in Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst, Sussex.

Military service

Harold I Hayes enlisted at Horsham.

The 13th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Sussex Regiment came into being between September and November 1914. These battalions (including the 11th and 12th) were formed by C.Lieut. Colonel Claude Lowther MP in Bexhill-on-Sea and were later known as ‘Lowther’s Lambs’. The three battalions formed ‘The South Downs’ with the 11th being the 1st, the 12th being the 2nd and so on. They were mobilised for war in March 1915 as part of the 116th Brigade of the 39th Division having been based in both Aldershot then Witley. They continued training until 5 March 1916 when they embarked from Southampton on the SS Viper and  SS Australand.

On 6 March they were camped, in snow, at Le Havre. By 28 May, they were in the Cuinchy trenches.

By 10 June 1916 they had moved up to La Pannerie and then relieved the 17th Lancashire Fusiliers in the Ferme du Bois trenches and remained there until 21/22 June. From 23 June they were preparing for the diversionary attack prior to the ‘First day of the Somme’, carried out by the 39th Division at the Boars Head near Richebourg l’Avoue. Just under 1,100 casualties, the majority of which were from Sussex, were logged as either dead, wounded or taken prisoner.

The 13th (Service) Battalion, the 3rd South Downs, remained in place until 23 May 1918 when it was reduced to a training cadre to 118th Brigade and was finally disbanded on 17 June 1918.

Harold Hayes was awarded Victory and British medals.

Death and commemoration

He was killed in action 30 June 1916.  He is buried at Departement du Pas-de-Calais, Nord-Pas-de-Calais.  He is commemorated on a plaque in the branch of NatWest Bank, Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst, on the Loos Memorial, Panels 69 to 73, and on Horsham War Memorial in The Carfax.

Plaque in the NatWest Bank, Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst
Plaque in the NatWest Bank, Rumbolds Hill, Midhurst

 

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project