yeovil at War

Stanley Edwin Hayward

Killed in an accident playing hockey


Stanley Edwin Hayward was born in Yeovil in 1894, the son of mason's labourer Edwin Hayward (1864-1910), originally from West Coker, and Martha née Mansell (1866-1932), a glove button holer from Yeovil.

In the 1901 census Edwin and Martha were living at 11 Queen Street with their children Rose (b 1881), Lucy (b 1884), Nellie (b 1887), Annie (b1891), 7-year old Stanley and Frederick (b 1897). The three eldest daughters, aged between 20 and 14, were all working as glove makers. In all Edwin and Martha had eight children, one of whom died in infancy.

By the time of the 1911 census Edwin had died and Martha and her children - Annie, Stanley, Fred and 6-year old Elsie, had moved to 29 Queen Street. At 16 Stanley was working as a labourer on building sites. In the spring of 1914 Stanley, aged 19, married Ethel Ricketts at Yeovil.

Stanley enlisted at Yeovil at the beginning of 1915, joining the 15th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. His Service Number was 86445, his rank was Driver.  Stanley was initially sent for training at Hilsea, Cosham, Hampshire.

There were two types of RFA drivers; ASC drivers whose sole job was driving the horses and were found in the ammunition columns. Then there were Gunners as drivers whose assignment was as a gun team driver, but who were also trained as gunners to enable them to function in that role. There were also those who "drove" the GS wagons (one per 2-gun section) who were also designated as drivers. Each driver was responsible for two horses, their harnesses, etc.

The Royal Field Artillery was the largest arm of the artillery. It was responsible for the medium calibre guns and howitzers deployed close to the front line and was reasonably mobile. It was organised into brigades, attached to divisions or higher formations. No 15 Battery was part of No 3 Depot RFA (3rd Reserve Brigade).

The Western Gazette takes up the story in its 16 April 1915 edition, "Mrs Hayward, a widow, of 53 Huish has lost one of her sons under painful circumstances. The deceased who was in his 21st year, enlisted in the R.F.A. about two months previously, and was in the 15th Battalion (sic), stationed at Hillsea Barracks, Cosham. About a fortnight ago, whilst playing hockey, he was struck on the head with a stone, which caused a severe wound. He was later transferred to the Isle of Wight Red Cross Hospital for a change of air, where unfortunately he contracted enteric fever, and which ultimately resulted in his death. Deceased was given a military funeral, which was attended by a contingent from his Battalion. Mrs Hayward’s second son Fred, is also in the Army, serving with the Somerset Territorials in India."

Stanley, aged just 20 when he died on 10 April 1915, is buried in Ryde Borough cemetery, Isle of Wight, Grave OG.C.347, and his name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.




The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Sidney Hayward.