Douglas was born in the July qtr. 1892 in Cranleigh in Surrey, and was christened in St Nicolas church in Cranleigh on 10th August 1892. In the parish register we find his parents are Alexander and Elizabeth Francis. Alexander’s occupation was a Bailiff and they were married in July qrt.1887 in Newport Pagnell RG.
In the 1891 census we find the family on a farm in Cranleigh with their first child, Colin. Douglas, aged 8, appears in the 1901 census in Towcester, Northants, when his mother is recorded as a widow, employed as a principal of a school. His father died on the 26th October 1896, when Douglas was four years old, and from the calendar of wills and administrations we can see that his mother Elizabeth received £406 14s. In the 1911 census he was living in Rugby at 92 Murray Road, with his mother and brother Colin. With his brother he was working as a winder at the B.T.H.
From his attestation papers we find that he had gone to Canada and served in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from 11th September 1914 till 10th September 1915 before joining the army on the 21st October 1915. He was attached to the 2nd company London Yeomanry. He was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps on 13th Aug 1917 then on the 19th Aug to the Tank Corps, He was posted to the training depot, and on the 26th Aug 1917 he was transferred to the 3rd battalion of the Yorkshire and Lancs regiment.
He was “Home” 21st October 1915 to the 9th May 1916 then B.E.F. 10 March 1916 till 18 August. Home 19th August till 30th October 1917. he was posted to the 2/5 Yorks & Lancs Regiment on the 1st November 1917. He was promoted to Lance Corporal on the 3rd January 1918, and he relinquished the promotion on the on the 4th February 1918 and was transferred to the 1/4 battalion Yorks & Lancs on 4th February 1918.
From his medical sheet we find he stood 5ft 9 inches tall he had a scar on his right thigh, blue eyes, fair hair, he weighed 12 stone and his chest was 39 inches with a 3 inch expansion.
The war diary states that the battalion was at the West hock Ridge. On the 12th the battalion carried out training in small parties, on the 13th the same as 12th, 1 ordinary rank wounded, on the 14th the same as 13th but states the strength of the 49 officers and 1022 ordinary ranks on the 15th same as 14th. On the 17th it’s the same as 15th but 1 ordinary rank wounded. On the 18th they move to Judee sub section:
Battalion moved into the line relieving 1st/6th Duke of Wellingtons Regiment being relieved at West hock and Railway Dugouts by the 4th Battalion Duke of Wellingtons Regiment. Casualties Ordinary Ranks killed 2, 3 Wounded.
Reports for the next few days read:
Considerable number of enemy gas shells (BLUE) and the support line was frequently heavily shelled casualties thus:
19th 4 ordinary ranks killed
20th 2 ordinary ranks killed, 6 ordinary ranks wounded. 21st 8 ordinary ranks killed, 11 ordinary ranks wounded
Private Douglas Hay 205383 1st/4th Bn. York’s and Lancaster Regt. was Killed in Action on 18th March 1918. Aged 26. Son of Mrs E. F. Hay and the late Alexander Hay.
He was buried at the Dunhallow A.D.S. cemetery in Ypres Belgium, V.A.8
Details on the headstone sheet indicate that Mrs Hay had moved to Awelfryn High St, Prestatyn.
RUGBY REMEMBERS HIM