Alfred Hay (1886–1951)


Royal Field Artillery 174589  

Photos courtesy Paul Hay

Alfred Hay

Biography by Simon Johnson, with thanks to Paul Hay
Alfred Hay was born at the small town of Yarm in the North Riding of Yorkshire on 18 October 1886. He was the seventh of ten children born to William Hay and Mary Renton, with six brothers and three sisters. He also had another five half-siblings from his father's first marriage. Alfred was raised in the village of Kirklevington, where his father – a former seaman in the Merchant Navy – worked as a stationary engine driver. Alfred and several of his siblings left the family home at an early age to work in service, with the girls working in domestic service, and the boys taking up agricultural employment.

By 1911, Alfred was boarding with the Smith family at Chase Cliffe Lodge at Whatstandwell, on the outskirts of the parish of Crich. Chase Cliffe was owned by the prominent Hurt family, and during most of Alfred's time there, it was tenanted by Maurice Deacon, a civil and mining engineer. Alfred initially worked as a groom alongside the Deacon family's coachman Frederick John Smith, though Alfred also became a coachman, driving the horse-drawn coaches. In 1912 Alfred married Ethel Whitmore of Whatstandwell. They had two sons. Alfred remained at Chase Cliffe for the rest of his life.

Coach at Chase Cliffe, Crich

Photograph taken outside Chase Cliffe at Whatstandwell.
The photograph was in the possession of Alfred Hay's grandson,
It is believed that Alfred Hay is one of the two men seated on the coach
He is known to have worked as a coachman for the Deacon family at Chase Cliffe.

group outside Chase Cliffe c 1920

Possibly taken during a carnival parade at Whatstandwell during the inter-war years.
The photograph is taken at the entrance to Chase Cliffe.
Alfred Hay is pictured standing on the left.

On the Roll of Honour in Crich Parish Church, Alfred's rank is given as 'Driver'. As yet, it hasn’t been possible to identify his regiment with any certainty, as his army service records have not survived. Only one Alfred Hay is listed in the service medal and award rolls with the rank of Driver. This individual served in the Royal Field Artillery, with the regimental number of 174589. Although this is likely to be the correct individual, it hasn’t yet been possible to confirm this.

Hay brothers WW1

Alfred's brothers and brother-in law
L–R: Edward Hay, Richard Clark, Charles Renton Hay
Charles served aboard HMS Victory, Diligence, and Blake as a stoker

After his discharge from the army, Alfred returned to Chase Cliffe. As the horse-drawn coaches came to be replaced by automobiles, He subsequently became a gardener on the estate. He also served as a special constable in the locality and the Derby Daily Telegraph dated 21st February 1936 recorded the award of a Belper special constable’s long service medal to Alfred Hay of Whatstandwell.. He passed away at Whatstandwell on 26 October 1951, aged sixty-five years and was laid to rest in the churchyard of St Mary's Church.

Medal Roll Index Cards
Alfred HAY, Driver, 174589 awarded the Victory and British War medals

Note: there is also recorded a Gunner Alfred HAY 42575 in the RFA who was awarded the Silver War Badge and discharged 23.4.17, however the Crich 1920 Roll of Honour records him as Driver not Gunner so likeihood lies with the former Alfred Hay.


1891: Kirk Leavington, Yorkshire

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Hay Head 49 Engine driver stationary Scarborough
May Hay wife 41   Knaresborough
Robert Hay son 13   Yorkshire
Thomas Hay son 12   Yam
Henry Hay son 11   Yam
Hannah Hay daughter 10   Yam
Ada Hay daughter 8   Yam
Alice Hay daughter 6   Yam
Alfred Hay son 4   Yam
Edward Hay son 3   Kirk Leavington
Charles Hay son 2   Kirk Leavington
George A Hay son 5mo   Kirk Leavington

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1901: Mount Leven, Yam, Yorkshire

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Alfred Hay Servant 14 Worker on farm Kirk Leavington

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1911: Chase Cliffe, Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Frederick John Smith Head 38 Coachman Rathy
Sarah Ann Smith wife 40   Boston, Lincs
Challis George Smith son 13 school Blidworth, Notts
Gladys Mary Smith daughter 11 school Blidworth, Notts
Frederick Cox Smith son 8 school Whittington, Derbys
Alfred Hay     25 groom (domestic) Kirk Leavington

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1911: Whatstandwell (Alfred's wife to be Ethel Whitmore)

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Kirk Head 84 Retired chemical manufacturer Chesterfield
Elizabeth Kirk wife 48   Whitwich
William Kirk son 8   Whatstandwell
Herbert Thos Kirk son 6   Whatstandwell
Ethel Whitmore step dau 24 At home Ratby
Lillie Whitmore step dau 19 Hosiery factory Crich Carr
Eveline Whitmore step dau 17 Hosiery factory Crich Carr

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1918 Voters List
Alfred Hay, Whatstandwell, absent on military service.

1939 Register: Thurlow Booth
Alfred Hay b.18 October 1886; farm and garden worker
Ethel Hay b.2 April 1886
Alfred Hay b.2 February 1916; wood machinist