• Cecil Andrew Hayes

Army / Flying Corps
  • 54th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Private

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  • British War Medal
  • Birth

    Bredbo, New South Wales, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Dubbo, NSW, Australia

Stories and comments
    • Cecil Gave So Much For His Country.
    • Posted by annstewie, Friday, 9 January 2015

    Pte Cecil Andrew Hayes Service No 2916 54th Battalion Jack (born 1867), Andy (1883) and Frank Hayes (1889) were the sons of Patrick Hayes and his wife, Elizabeth Stewart. The couple raised their family on "Rosebrook", a large property in the Rose Valley, north of Cooma, owned by the Harnett family. Patrick's parents were Irish immigrants, who had arrived in 1841. Thomas was one of a group, who found sufficient gold to spark the Kiandra Goldrush of 1859. Later, he was employed as a shepherd and Margaret as a housekeeper. Eventually they selected their own land at Rock Flat. When Thomas died in 1899, Margaret went to live at "Rosebrook.". She died at Jerangle, in 1907. Elizabeth's parents, William Stewart and Esther Hannah, had migrated from Northern Ireland, in 1842. Elizabeth was born at Gundaroo, (north of Canberra), but after a time working at Naas Creek (now ACT), the family selected land at Cooma Creek. When her mother was killed by lightening, the care of six younger children probably fell to Elizabeth, until four years later, she married Patrick, who was a shepherd at the time. He was later a teamster and then became a farmer. They raised 11 children, nine of whom survived to adulthood. They were probably working on "Rosebrook" in 1866, when the Clarke Gang bailed up the homestead and relieved the Hartnett family and their friends of their winnings, gained at the Cooma Races, earlier that day. Patrick died in1899 and Elizabeth in 1910. Jack married Margaret "Maria" Bowerman (daughter of William Bowerman and Margaret Connelly) and worked around the countryside with Frank. Jack and Maria's son, Cecil, was born in 1897. Two other children did not survive infancy. When Cecil enlisted in June 1916, Andy and Frank had already joined up. Andy went to France with the 31st Battalion and Frank to France and Belgium, with the 55th Battalion. Cecil embarked from Sydney, in October and arrived in France, in February 1917. After manning the trenches of the Somme Valley, the 54th Battalion was sent to Ypres, in Belgium. After a stint in hospital with diarhorrea, Cecil rejoined his unit , who took part in the Third Battle of Ypres - a series of bloody conflicts. In October, Cecil was gassed. After recovering in England, he was gassed again almost immediately, in April 1918 and needed a much longer time to recover, in England. He did not return to the fighting and did not arrive home, until May 1919. Frank had been badly wounded and had made it home the previous year - with limited use of his arm. Andy brought home his English bride, Edith Wilson (nee Cooke) and her young son, in September, 1919. Two years later, Cecil married Hannah May Dunn in Condoblin. They raised a family of six. In October 1941, at the age of 44, Cecil enlisted with the Australian Auxillary Transport Corps and served for two years. In the last weeks of WW2, Hannah and Cecil's son, (Leslie) Patrick, a former farmer, aged only 20, was killed in action, while serving with the 2/4th Battalion in New Guinea and was buried at Lae. His parents were living at Grenfell, NSW, at the time and later resided in Parkes. In 1967, Cecil wrote to the army requesting a copy of his WW1 discharge papers and badge, as he had lost them in a fire at Tullamore. Cecil died 1968 in Parkes and Hannah a year later. REFERENCES: "From Kilkeel to Cooma", William and Esther Stewart Family History Group, Cooma NAA Army Service Records Series B2455, B883 and B884 NSW BDM DC # 12068/1907, # 16981/1968, # 42898/1969 NSW BDM MC # 11678/1921 Australian War Memorial "Explore: Australian Military Units - WW1 - Infantry: 54th Battalion