• FrancisThomas Hayes

Army / Flying Corps
  • 55th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Private

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  • 1914–1915 Star
  • Birth

    Cooma, New South Wales, Australia

  • Enlistment - WW1

    Cooma, New South Wales, Australia

Stories and comments
    • From Gentle Rose Valley to the Turmoil of Ypres
    • Posted by annstewie, Friday, 9 January 2015

    Pte Francis Thomas Hayes Service No: 2166 55th Battalion 4th Reinforcements Jack (born 1867), Andy (1883) and Frank Hayes (1889) were the sons of Patrick Hayes and his wife, Elizabeth Stewart. Andy and Frank were the youngest. The couple worked and lived on "Rosebrook", a large property belonging to the Harnett family, situated in Rose Valley, north of Cooma. Patrick's parents, Thomas Hayes and Margaret O'Shanassey, had migrated from Ireland in 1841. Thomas was one of a group, who found enough gold to spark the Kiandra Goldrush, of 1859. Thomas was later employed as a shepherd and Margaret as a housekeeper. Later they selected their own land at Rock Flat. Some of their grown children then lived and worked on "Rose Valley." Margaret moved there, when Thomas died, in 1899. Margaret died at Jerangle, in 1907. Elizabeth's parents were William Stewart and Esther Hannah, who had migrated from Northern Ireland, in 1842. She was born at Gundaroo (north of Canberra) and after some time at Naas Creek (now ACT), the family selected their own land at Cooma Creek. When Elizabeth's mother was killed by lightening, the care of six younger children would probably have fallen to her, until four years later, when she married Patrick - a shepherd at the time. Later he was a teamster and eventually had a farm. The couple raised 11 children, nine of whom survived. They were probably living at "Rosebrook" in 1866, when the station was bailed up by the Clarke Gang, after the Hartnett family and friends were relieved of their winnings from the Cooma Races, held earlier that day. Frank was only 10, when his father died. Elizabeth died 11 years later. As a consequence, Frank probably had to find work at a very young age, which he did for many years with his brother Jack, at various properties around the area. Frank enlisted at Cooma, in February 1916, followed by Jack's son, Cecil, in June. Andy had enlisted the previous year. Andy went on to serve with the 31st Battalion in France and Cecil in France and Belgium, with the 54th Battalion. Frank left Sydney, in September, 1916 and arrived in France, in December with the 54th Battalion. In an extremely bitter winter, the battalion was in the trenches of the Somme and Frank contracted pneumonia. After recuperating, he rejoined his unit, just as they took part in the fierce and bloody Battle of Polygon Wood. Badly wounded by gunshots, his fighting days were over and he returned home in February, 1918, but was left with limited use of his arm, no doubt a real challenge for a bushman, used to hard physical work. Cecil, who had been gassed twice, arrived home the following year. Soon after, Andy returned with his new English wife, Edith Wilson (nee Cooke) and her young son. Frank married Joan Kett and later lived in Croydon, NSW. In 1931. he wrote to the army requesting replacement of his WW1 badge and discharge papers, as they had been lost in a Bredbo bushfire. He died in Marrickville, NSW, in 1960. Joan is thought to have died in Coolamon, NSW. REFERENCES: "From Kilkeel to Cooma", William and Esther Stewart family History Group, Cooma NSW BDM: DC 21934/1960 and DC 28066/1960 NAA Army Service Record Series B2455 Australian War Memorial "Explore Australian Military Units - WW1 - Infantry:55th Battalion

    • description of photo in Australian War Memorial.
    • Posted by helenpre, Thursday, 17 September 2015

    Group portrait of members of the 55th Battalion who enlisted in 'The Men from Snowy River' recruitment march in the Monaro region of NSW in January 1916. Back row, from left to right: 2139 Private (Pte) Walter Gerald Collins of Numeralla; 2252 Pte Arthur Winner of Bombala; A. Ferrier (identification not confirmed); 2121 Pte Haloran (Hal) Archer of Tarcutta; 2166 Pte Francis (Frank) Hayes of Bredbo; 2225 Pte Ronald Randall of Wolumla; 2214 Pte Ernest Pegram (served under the alias Arthur Joseph Pegram); 2148 Pte Edwin Freebody of Nimmitabel; 2280 Pte Hubert (Bert) McDonald of Myalla; 2168 Pte William James of Nimmitabel. Middle row: 2149 Pte Clarence Foster of Ardlethan; 2258 Pte Stanley Yelds of Sydney; 2246 Pte Simon Turner of Adaminaby; 2200 Pte Leslie McDonald of Myalla; 2281 Henry Pegram of Bredbo. Front row: 2133 Pte John Buckley of Myalla; 2196 Pte Timmothy McMahon of Michelago; 2173 Pte Andrew Levi of Port Adelaide, South Australia; 2199 Pte Roderick McDonald of Nimmitabel; 2283 Pte Francis Rees. Of the twenty men depicted in the group, eight died on active service. Pte Walter Collins died of wounds sustained during the fighting at Peronne on 2 September 1918; Pte, later Corporal Arthur Winner died of broncho-pneumonia in France on 2 January 1919; Pte Ronald Randall died of wounds sustained during the fighting at Peronne on 3 September 1918; Pte Ernest Pegram was killed in action during the fighting at Doignies on 2 April 1917; Pte Edwin Freebody was killed in action during the Battle of Polygon Wood on 23 September 1917; Pte Simon Turner was killed in action during the fighting at Doignies on 2 April 1917; Pte Leslie McDonald died of wounds sustained at Peronne on 1 October 1918; Pte John Buckley was awarded the Military Medal (MM) for actions during the Second Battle of Bullecourt in May 1917, and died of wounds sustained during the fighting at Peronne on 3 September 1918. Most of the men formed part of the 4th Reinforcements of the 55th Battalion, the photograph being taken on the Salisbury Plains several weeks before they were sent to France.

    Australian War Memorial