Robert Hay

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment: May 1915
  • Place of enlistment: Glasgow
  • Service no: Clyde Z/4182
  • Rank: Able Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: Nelson Battalion, R.N. Div
  • Place of Death: France
  • Age at Death: 20
  • Date of Death: 13.11.1916
  • Burial Country: France
  • Cemetery: Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont Hamel
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: III.E.38.

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 155 Lochee Rd, Dundee
  • Occupation: Labourer
  • Mother:
  • Father:
  • Siblings:

    Mrs Porter of 155 Lochee Road, Dundee

  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Robert Hay

Robert Hay was the brother of Mrs Porter of 155 Lochee Road, Dundee and was working as a Labourer when, in May 1915, he volunteered to join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, probably in Glasgow, for service in the Royal Naval Division. After basic Naval training at the Crystal Palace in South London he was sent to the Royal Naval Division Depot at Blandford Camp in Dorset for advanced military training. In September he was drafted to the Nelson Battalion fighting in the Gallipoli campaign. During the final days before the withdrawal in January 1916 he was sentenced to 28 days detention. The Nelson Battalion spent the next four months in garrison duties in the Aegean before being sent to France in May. Robert Hay was not with them as he became ill and was assessed as Medically Unserviceable. Despite this, he reached France later in June and rejoined the Battalion in August. In September he was again hospitalised, this time with Scabies, a common problem in the trenches. After training in Army tactics the RND began to experience the war on the Western Front and was being prepared to join in the Somme battle. One of the first day’s objectives of the British attack on 1 July 1916 was the capture of the village of Beaucourt just to the west of the River Ancre. It was finally taken on 14 November by the men of the RND. This was the first major operation by the RND in France and established a reputation for being a “Can Do” Division. However, the casualty list was very long and over 30 local men were killed and countless more wounded. This was the worst ever day for Dundee’s Naval forces in the First World War. Robert Hay was first listed as Missing but later confirmed as Killed in Action. His body was recovered by men of the 37th Division and buried in the field. Later, he was re-interred in the Ancre British Cemetery in Beaumont Hamel, Northern France.

Information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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