War Diary: the Story of a WW1 Soldier
by Wilma Hayes
Thursday 24 November 2016
On the evening of Thursday 24th November, in a talk that was exciting, humorous and moving by turns, Wilma Hayes told the Society about her grandfather’s experiences during World War I. At times it seemed almost miraculous that Lieutenant William Hayes survived the war, since he was present at every major engagement – the Somme, Passchendale and Vimy Ridge among others – being wounded twice but surviving to win the Military Cross and to marry a German girl and bring her home with him to Canada.
Before he volunteered at the start of the war to join the Canadian Expeditionary Force as a private soldier, William was camp cook in a logging camp, catering for 100 men at a time, so perhaps it is not surprising that within a short space of time he was Acting Quartermaster Sergeant Hayes. He ended up being sent to England on Officer Training, ending the conflict as a Lieutenant.
Almost as fascinating as her grandfather’s experiences, was the story of Wilma’s researches to discover his history, and there were lively discussions afterwards between Wilma and members of her audience.