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heySeth Hey was born in Burnley in the first quarter of 1893. He was the son of Albert Hey and Mary Elizabeth Hey. Seth was their middle child and he had two sisters, Laura (b. c1891) and Elsie (b. c1895). His parents had also suffered the sorrow of another child not surviving childhood.

At the time of both the 1901 and 1911 censuses the whole family were living together at 5, Woodbine road, Burnley. In 1911 Seth, aged 18, and his two sisters were working as weavers in the cotton industry. His father, aged 50, was working as a house painter.

Seth enlisted into the Territorial Force at Burnley in February 1916 and joined the 3rd/5th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment with the number 4686.

Private Hey sailed to France with the East Lancs in July 1916 but soon after his arrival was transferred to the 1/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 6240.

On 9th September 1916 the 1/4th Battalion took part in the attack on Delville Wood.

Battalion History:  The DELVILLE WOOD battle started on the 9th September. The British artillery were in action all day, and at 4 p.m. the barrage started ; at 4 45 the Division on our left attacked. Our objective was to capture HOP ALLEY with B and C Companies, whilst the Lancashire Fusiliers were to go over with us and take ALE ALLEY. At 5 25 the Battalion went over and the first objective — HOP ALLEY — was gained, but the second wave did not succeed in reaching ALE ALLEY, and as HOP ALLEY had become untenable under intense machine gun barrage and gunfire, the remnant of B and C Companies withdrew and fell back to their original line. Supporting Companies from the l/8th King’s Liverpool Regiment and 1 /4th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment were sent up to strengthen the lines, whilst working parties consolidated the position.

The casualties during this action were heavy, 24 men were reported to have been killed. There were 125 men wounded; and a further 79 men missing, including Private Seth Hey.

The Burnley Express wrote on Saturday 18th November 1916;


News has been received by his parents, residing at 5, Woodbine-road, Burnley, that their son, Pte. Seth Hey, 6240, Loyal North Lancashire Regt. (formerly 4686 3/5th East Lancashire Regt.), is posted missing as from Sept. 9th. Pte Hey who is 23 years of age, enlisted in the Territorial reserve in February, and previous to that was a weaver at Messrs. W. Burrows and Co.’s Mill, Whitfield. He was connected with St. John’s Church, Gannow, and had been a member of the choir there. His parents are very anxious about him, and would be pleased to receive any information.

In January 1917, as Seth was still officially ‘missing’, he was allocated the new-style Territorial number 202856.

Due to no news of his whereabouts being forthcoming, Private Seth Hey was later to be considered dead for official purposes. The Burnley Express of Saturday 28th July 1917 wrote;


Mrs. Hey of 5, Woodbine-road, Burnley has got official news that her son, Pte. Seth Hey (202856) of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment (formerly 3/5 East Lancashires), aged 24 years. was killed on September 9th, 1916 in France. He enlisted in February 1916 and went out in July the same year. He was the only son of Mr. and Mrs, Hey, and formerly worked as a weaver at Messrs. W. Burrows and Co.’s Mill, Whitfield. He attended St. John’s Church, Gannow and was a member of the cricket and football clubs there.

Seth Hey’s body was never identified on the battlefield and as such he is remembered on the Thiepval memorial to the missing.

Seth’s next of kin took receipt of his British War Medal and Victory Medal. They would have also received the Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

On the 24th April 1921 the War memorial at Gannow Church was unveiled. The Burnley Express recorded the messages written on the sprays of flowers and crosses. Someone had dedicated a spray to Seth which read;

“In remembrance of Pte. Seth Hey.”

Thiepval Memorial

Thiepval Memorial

Rank: Private
Service No: 202856
Date of Death: 09/09/1916
Age: 23
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Paul McCormick
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