Hayes, Alfred (No. D/24602)

Hayes, Alfred


No. D/24602, 6th (H.D.) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles

Died of illness on Tuesday 6 February 1940 (aged 51)


Holywood Cemetery, Co. Down (Grave 341)


Commonwealth War Graves Commission


Alfred Hayes was born on 8 May 1888 in Cookstown, Co. Tyrone and he was a son of William and Sarah Ann Hayes (nee Mitchell).  William Hayes was a Recruiting Sergeant for the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and Sarah Ann Mitchell was 17 when they got married on 27 May 1871 in Colchester, England.  They had twelve children:

Henry (born in England)

William (born in England)

Isabella (born 8 March 1874 in Bonds Hill, Waterside, Londonderry; died in infancy)

Catherine (born 16 May 1876 at 21 Clooney Terrace, Londonderry)

James (born 13 May 1877 in Clooney Terrace, Londonderry)

George (born 5 July 1879 at 21 Clooney Terrace, Londonderry)

Mabel Jane (born 6 November 1881 at 21 Clooney Terrace, Londonderry)

Andrew Henry (born 14 February 1884 in Gortmore, Omagh)

John (born 26 February 1886 in Oldtown, Cookstown)

Alfred (born 8 May 1888 in Oldtown, Cookstown)

Adelaide Lucy (born 23 June 1892 in Oldtown, Cookstown)

Dudley O’Neill (born 7 August 1896 in Oldtown, Cookstown)

Alfred was eight when his father, William Hayes died of exhaustion and exposure in Coolreaghs, Cookstown on 12 December 1896 (aged 54).

In 1901 the widowed Sarah Ann Hayes was living at 120 Canmore Street, Belfast and in 1911 she was living at 4 Bracken Street, Belfast with her widowed son George and his three surviving children William, Jemima and Georgina.

Sarah Ann Hayes was 67 when she died of cancer on 26 June 1921 in Belfast.

Alfred Hayes enlisted in Belfast on 4 January 1907 (aged 18) and served with the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers (No. 8908) in Malta, China and India.  During the First World War he served in France and in 1917 was awarded the Military Medal (London Gazette 9 July 1917).  He was wounded in action and suffered gunshot wounds to his back, left hip and left leg.  After he recovered, pieces of shrapnel remained in his body.  In 1918 in France he was transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No. 49793) and attached to 108th Trench Mortar Battery (Ulster Division).

Lance Corporal Alfred Hayes (aged 30) and Annie Smith (aged 21) of 79 Tennant Street, Belfast were married on 8 April 1919 in St. Silas’s Church of Ireland Church, Belfast.  Annie Smith was a daughter of Joseph Smith, a dock labourer.

Lance Corporal Alfred Hayes was discharged from the Army on 15 September 1919 and awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.  On 16 September 1919 he re-enlisted and joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (No. 206461).  It was noted that he was 5 feet 5 inches tall and, because of the shrapnel in his body, he was discharged as being medically unfit on 22 September 1919.

In 1934 Alfred Hayes wrote to the War Office from his home in 38 Moltke Street, Belfast.  The Army had never given him a copy of his discharge papers and they could not locate his papers in any of their offices. Alfred Hayes was unemployed, and he said that he needed the papers to get a job.  He said that he was ‘finding things getting hard’.

During the Second World War Alfred Hayes served with the 6th (Home Defence) Battalion, Royal Ulster Rifles.  He was 51 when he died of septicaemia on 6 February 1940 in Knocknagoney Military Hospital and he was buried two days later in Holywood Cemetery.