September 25th, 2016

Exhibition uncovers surprise link with hero of Somme in Redditch

Exhibition uncovers surprise link with hero of Somme in Redditch Exhibition uncovers surprise link with hero of Somme in Redditch
Updated: 10:26 am, Aug 05, 2016

A REDDITCH family has come together to mark the 100th anniversary of the death one of town’s sons in the First World War.

Albert Edward Hay died on July 29, 1916, as a result of wounds he received in the Battle of the Somme, yet it was only by accident his family discovered he lies in Plymouth Road cemetery and uncovered his wartime story.

The catalyst was local historian Philip Jarvis, who in 2014, to mark the centenary of the start of the 1914-18 conflict, asked his friend John Gray, a model plane enthusiast, if he had any WW1 aircraft for a display.

“We went along to the exhibition and it was only then that we discovered we had a relative who had been in the war,” said John’s son Russell.

“We saw the name Hay and my mum’s maiden name is Hay and I mentioned it to her and she got the family tree and found out about Albert.”

“Albert Edward was my grandfather’s brother, so he was my great uncle,” said Russell’s mum Karen.

And it turned out that Karen had been almost within touching distance of Albert as she was growing up.

“Mum used to play in the field that’s now the peace garden, so she was just yards away from where he lies,” added Russell.

Inspired by the discovery Russell has since been out to the Somme battlefield to the spot where it is likely Lance Corporal Hay of the 1st Battalion, Worcestershire Regiment received the injuries that were to prove fatal.

Meanwhile research by Shusanah Pillinger, a great great niece, has gradually pieced together L/Cpl Hay’s story which was printed in the Redditch Standard of July 22.

The centenary of Albert’s death also proved a good excuse for a reunion of the Redditch family, including the youngest member, baby Jack Hay, only a few months old and the great great nephew of Albert, but who was also there to pay his respects to a fallen soldier.