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War Memorials

In Memory of
Private 27308
17th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment
Who died on Saturday, 8th July 1916
Aged 31

Buried Plot III. Row J. Grave 20
Le Touret Military Cemetery, Richebourg-L'Avoue, Pas De Calais, France

Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Le Touret Military Cemetery

Le Touret Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France1

It was in the year 1911 that Arthur Hayes set sail to find fame and fortune in America, settling in Norwalk, Connecticut with a community of lace makers from the Nottingham area. The call of duty was so strong, however, that when the war started and at his own expense he returned home with two other pals to join the forces2.

Arthur was born in Newark, Notts in 1884, the son of William and Elizabeth Hayes. By 1901, the family had moved to 57 Middle Street, Beeston3 and, before going to America, Arthur Hayes was employed at Nevilles Factory as a lace hand. He was also well known among the sporting fraternity, being a keen cyclist and good footballer.

On his return, Arthur wasted no time and enlisted in the 17th (Service) Battalion Sherwood Foresters. Known also as the Welbeck Rangers, this Battalion was one of Lord Kitchener's new army battalions, raised in Nottingham by the Mayor and a recruiting Committee on 1st June 1915. The Welbeck Rangers left Nottingham for Aldershot and became part of the 117th Brigade 39th Division. Later in October they moved to Whitley in Yorkshire, finally the battalion landed in France on 16th March 1916.

After just under four months at the front Private Hayes was killed by a stray shot while on trench duty during the early stages of the Somme Battle. He was buried in Le Touret Military Cemetery.4

Le Touret Military Cemetery - This cemetery is on the road from Bethune to Armentieres, approximately 1 kilometre outside the village of Le Touret. The Cemetery was begun by the Indian Corps (and in particular by the 2nd Leicesters) in November, 1914, and it was used continuously by Field Ambulances and fighting units until March, 1918. It passed into German hands in April, 1918 and, after its recapture, a few further burials were made in Plot IV in September and October. The grave of one Officer of the London Regiment was brought in, in 1925, from a position on the Estaires-La Bassee road near "Port Arthur", and the 264 Portuguese graves of March, 1917 and April, 1919 were removed to Richebourg-L'Avoue Portuguese National Cemetery after the Armistice. There are now over 900, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. The graves of three men of the King's Liverpool Regiment, which were destroyed by shell fire, are now represented by special headstones. The Cemetery covers an area of 7,036 square metres and is enclosed by a low brick wall.

Located in the east end of the cemetery is the Le Touret Memorial which commemorates over 13,000 service men who fell in this area before 25th September 1915 and who have no known grave.5

1The photograph Le Touret Military Cemetery is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2Arthur returned on the SS New York from New York, arriving at Liverpool on 6 June 1915. He gave an address of "Wooley Street", Beeston. He was travelling with Walter Spray and Walter Smith, who gave an address of 19 Freer Street, Long Eaton, Derbys and Fred Hunt, who gave an address of Hope Street, Beeston. Fred, the son of Edward Hunt of 29 Newton St, Beeston, is known to have gone to America in 1911, arriving at New York on SS Celtic on June 4th. He then travelled with his uncle, Henry Hunt and travelled on to Henry's brother, "J Hunt" in Norwalk, Connecticut, (Ellis Island and UK Arrivals records)
31901 Census Piece 3153 Folio 125. Arthur, then age 16 was described as a lace threader. Two brothers, George (19, a cycle hand) and Albert (13, an errand boy) and a sister, Alice (9) were also living there with their mother; their father was absent.
5His memorial on the CWGC site (and presumably on his grave memorial), records his rank as Private. On the Beeston Parish Church memorial, his rank is given as Lance Corporal,
4This description of Le Touret Military Cemetery and Memorial is based on that on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)

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