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Harry Edward Hayden

Harry Edward Hayden


Harry was born in Eltisley on 15 July 1896; his parents were Alfred and Ellen Hayden. Alfred Hayden was a farm labourer and the family lived in part of what is now known as Musters Cottage, facing the Green, which they rented from a Mrs Knibbs of Church Street, Gamlingay. Harry had two older brothers (Frank and Sidney George), and one older and two younger sisters (Rose, Nelly and Winnie). Harry’s occupation was as a milkman, working for Mr J Bunn of Mill Farm, Willington; before the War he earned 15 shillings a week.

Harry enlisted in the 6th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment on 10 November 1914. The 6th Bedfordshires were part of the 37th Division, 112th Brigade (they were attached to the 34th Division from 7 July to 21 August 1916).

On 12 July the battalion were in Heligoland, and Harry was one of 22 soldiers wounded on that day, with a shrapnel wound to his back.

Harry recovered and quickly returned to the front. On 3 August his regiment was in trenches at Bottom Wood (just below Mametz Wood, between Fricourt and Contalmaison). On 6 August they moved to nearby Bazentin le Petit where they continued to come under fire. There was fierce fighting in this area at this time. On the 7th, 8 men were killed and 1 Officer and 24 Other Ranks wounded. On the 8th there was 1 Other Rank killed and 1 Officer and 13 Other Ranks wounded during the day, and in an attack at 9.20pm that night 1 Officer and 8 Other Ranks were killed and 25 Other Ranks wounded. Harry was one of the men wounded on 8 August. This time Harry’s injury was serious and he was moved to hospital in Boulogne.

Harry’s father received a letter on 21 August, written at Harry’s request by a hospital visitor, to say that Harry had been wounded on 8 August by a piece of shrapnel through his shoulder into his chest. He had had an operation, the shrapnel had been removed, and he was expecting to be sent to England as soon as the wound was cleaner. Harry sent his best love and said he was getting on as well as could be expected. Sadly, Harry’s condition quickly deteriorated and he died some time during the morning of 21 August.

Harry was 20 years old when he died, a casualty of the Somme. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.


Harry Edward Hayden
Private 17752, 6th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment

15 July 1896 – 21 August 1916
(aged 20 years)

  Harry was 20 years old when he died, a casualty of the Somme. He is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery.

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