Hay Robert MacDonald

Name of Researcher / Enw’r ymchwylydd: Eifion & Viv Williams

Name of Memorial / Enw’r gofeb: Mold

Name / Enw: Hay Robert MacDonald

Regiment/Catrawd: 1st 28th Bn London Regiment (Artists Rifles)

Service Rank and Number / Rheng gwasanaeth a rhif: Private 762956 (8952)

Military Cemetery/Memorial / Fynwent milwrol: Tyne Cot Memorial

Ref No Grave or Memorial / Rhif cyfeirnod bedd: Panel 153

Country of Cemetery or Memorial / Gwlad y fynwent neu gofeb: Belgium

Medals Awarded / Medalau a ddyfarnwyd: Victory and British War medals

Date and Circumstances of Death / Dyddiad ac amgylchiadau marwolaeth:

Died 30th October 1917 aged 29 yrs

Robert MacDonald Hay was born in 1888 in Garston Lancashire. His father was a Scotsman, Alexander Hay who seems to have spent his working life as a railway agent. The mother, Mary was a Welshwoman born in Wrexham which was in Flintshire then.  We have traced the family living in Halewood, Liverpool in the 1901 census. Alexander was 49, Mary was 40 and their children were Robert 13, Rosalie 11, Alexander 10, David 7 and Dorothy 5.

In the 1911 census  the family was still in Liverpool. The mother Mary had died and widower Alexander was 59 and working as a clerk in a railway company as indeed was Robert the eldest son. Rosalie was a housekeeper for the family and the other two boys (Alexander and David) were working as Sea Stewards for a steamship company. Dorothy was 15.

His Army Service Records have survived and are accessible on www.ancestry.co.uk  When he signed up and attested in Mold on the 12th  February 1916.  Robert gave his address as The Dolphin Hotel , Mold and his trade was ‘Clerk’. He was 28 years old.  He was medically examined on the 21st October 1916. They recorded  that he had been born in Garston,  Lancashire and that his declared age was 28 years and 6 months. He was a railway Clerk. He was 5 feet 81/4 inches tall, weighed 158 lbs and had a chest measurement of 381/2 inches with an expansion range of 3 inches. His physical development was good as was his vision. He stated that he had contracted rheumatic fever 7 years previously. There were no cardiac issues. He had complete upper and partial lower dentures. He named his father Alexander Hay as his next of kin.

He was appointed to the 28th (County of London) Battalion (Artists Rifles) on 21st October 1916

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/units/4375/21-artist-rifles/

He was in the UK until the 2nd February 1917 when he embarked for France at Southampton. He disembarked at Le Harvre on the 17th February. He joined his Battalion in the field on the 26th February 1917.  His death was presumed to have happened on or since the 30th October 1917.  There is an index card for Robert in The Flintshire Roll of Honour at The County Record Office in H awarden. The card says that he was killed at Passchendale  whilst acting as a stretcher bearer. The Dolphin Hotel was given as an address. The card was  signed by Alexander Hay, his father.

There is evidence in the Records that suggests that Robert’s family were unaware for some months of what had happened to him. This  letter from Alexander Hay, Robert’s father, to the officer in charge of records in London, gives us some idea of the frustration that was felt. The letter was written on his Railway Company headed paper.

Mold and Denbigh Junction Railway

Traffic Agents’ Office

Earl Road, Mold

20th March 1918

Dear Sir

No 762956 Private R McD Hay. 28th London Rgt. Reported missing on 30th October 1917. Army Form 1/28/1460 dated 10/12/17 B104-83

I am still without tidings of my son who has been wounded suffering from shell shock and missing for five months today and as I am still continuing to pay his life Insurance premiums I shall be glad if you can advise me in the matter or must I wait until after the declaration of peace

Yours faithfully

Alexander Hay. 

There is other correspondence between the army and Mr Hay concerning the return of Robert’s personal effects. Some of it is very difficult to read but it seems that Mr Hay was questioning why the only personal effects that were returned to him were some letters. There was a signed receipt for Robert’s two medals. His medal index card (on Ancestry) lists his two medals and states that his previous regimental number was 8952

After the war, in October 1919,  Mr Hay was asked to complete a Living Relatives Form. It gives some family history.

The father Alexander was living in Mold working for the Flint and Denbigh Railway. His address was given as 12, Griffith Square Mold. The mother was ‘deceased’.
Alexander Hay, brother who was by then 27 was living in the USA address unknown
David Hay  brother was 25  and was ‘at sea’  address unknown
Mrs Rosalie Williams (sister then married) was 30 and living in 37 Waverton  Rd Liverpool
Dorothy Hay sister was 22 and living at 127 Rosebury St Liverpool.

The form listed an Uncle Anthony Charles Hay 69, 527 Tower Buldings Liverpool.

 

Robert McDonald Hay left a will. It is recorded  in the National Probate Calendar (Index of wills and administrations) accessible on Ancestry. The entry reads

Hay. Robert McDonald of 9 Marlowe Terrace Wrexham Street, Mold, Flintshire  Private No 762956 1/28 (County of London battalion) died on or since 30th October 1917 in France on active military service. Admin St Asaph 19th June to Alexander Hay Railway Traffic Agent £52..12sh ..0d

The register of Soldier’s Effects in which the army calculated what monies were owed to deceased soldiers, includes an entry for Robert McDonald Hay. The sole Legatee was his father Alexander who received  a total of £7..9sh ..5d in two separate payments.