People on board
According to his marriage certificate in 1884 which said that he was twenty-one, Edward Hayes was born in 1863 and his father, then deceased, was named William. He was probably born in the Manchester area but no details of his birth or family have been confirmed. He gave both his and his late father’s occupation as ‘Loom Jobber’ and his address as Stand Lane in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester. He married Mary Harriet Kennett, a Weaver, aged nineteen with the same address, on the 2nd of August. On the 1st of September she gave birth to a daughter, Adelaide.
In the 1891 census Mary and Adelaide were boarders in a house on Stand Lane, and in 1901 Mary was Head of Household in a house on the same street. Throughout, Mary gave her occupation as ‘Cotton Weaver’ and in 1901 Adelaide was a ‘Cotton Winder’. On each occasion Mary stated that she was married but Edward was never present. In 1911 they had moved to Sion Street and a grandchild, Florrie, had been born.
Edward has not been positively identified in any of the censuses, but in March 1918 he enlisted in Derby and was posted to the Royal Garrison Artillery. He gave his age as forty-seven years and 10 months, rather than fifty-five as per the marriage certificate. On the 28th of September he was posted to the 31st Coastal Command in Berehaven in West Cork. It is not known why he was returning to England less than two weeks later. He did not survive the sinking of RMS Leinster but his body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery.
In April 1919 Mary Hayes, then living in Lion Street, Radcliffe, was officially notified that Edward had drowned but a sentence at the end of the letter said “I may state that on enlistment the late Gunner Hayes stated that he was not married”. It emerged in a letter in August 1919 that he had declared his landlady, Clara Senior, 18 Lodge Street, Heywood as his next-of-kin. A further letter that month uncovered the fact that a telegram dated the 19th of October 1918 had been sent to Clara Senior at Lodge Street from Castletown Bere, “referencing Edward Hayes’s death and enquiring his religion”. However the telegram was not opened until Clara Senior returned to her home after a twelve month absence. The letter, from the officer in charge of records at the Royal Garrison Artillery in Heywood, went on “It appears the parties had lived together for twelve years and he had promised that he would make a will in her favour”.
However, Mary Harriet Hayes was able to produce her marriage certificate and in December 1919 she received £5 18s 3d in money due to Edward Hayes but, as they were not living together when he died, she was refused the Separation Allowance. It is not known what happened thereafter.