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John Richard Hayes was born in Preston, Lancashire in 1881.

John married Elizabeth Ellen Lee on 28th July 1906 at St James Church, Preston. John, Elizabeth and their son Ernest (b. 1909) lived together at 46, Wilbraham Street, Preston. In 1911 he had been working as a brickmaker.

John Hayes enlisted in Army in early October 1914. He was posted into the 10th (Service) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 16915.

The Battalion moved to South Downs and Eastbourne for training and in April 1915 became part of the 112th Brigade in 37th Division. Private John Hayes sailed for France with the 10th (Service) Battalion on 31st July 1915. They landed at Boulogne the next morning.

At some point during the War he was transferred (or became attached) to the 1st/5th (Territorial) Battalion of the Regiment. This was likely to have been shortly before his death, and quite possibly for the sole purpose of *reinforcing the 1/5th Battalion on the afternoon of 20th September during The Battle of the Menin Road Ridge, Passchendaele.

John Hayes was killed on 20th September 1917 in the fight for Hill 37. He was 36 years old.

The Battle of Menin Road Ridge: 1/5th Battalion LNL on 20th September 1917

At 05:40hrs a barrage was opened up on the German’s front line. Waves of men moved forward to assault the German positions, their main objective being to take and hold Hill 37.

As the 1/5th Loyal North Lancs moved forward, they came under heavy rifle and machine gun fire from several strong points to their front and from both flanks. Four of their smaller objectives had been met by 08:00hrs and by 11:00hrs they had captured Hill 37, but had lost it again 20 minutes later. The 1/5th Battalion *received some reinforcements that afternoon and succeeded in winning the Hill 37 back by 17:00hrs.

Hill 37, and the other strategic lines were held by the Division for the next four days before being relieved.

Private John Richard Hayes is remembered on the memorial at the Harris Museum, and the Tyne Cot Memorial.

John’s next of kin received the 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal, as well as the Memorial Plaque and Memorial Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

Rank: Private
Service No: 16915
Date of Death: 20/09/1917
Age: 36
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment: 10th Bn /1-5th Bn.

Unfortunately information is limited as his service papers have not survived.

Paul McCormick
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