The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Basil Haye

HAYE, Basil

Basil Haye was born in Wokingham, Berkshire on the 23rd of August 1894 to George Haye and Alice Maude Backhouse. Basil was the second of their five children and the eldest son. George was a Solicitor from Devon but had moved to Wokingham by the time of his marriage in 1892. The youngest child, Norman, was born in nearby Crowthorne where the family had moved, close to Wellington College where Basil and his younger brother Philip attended as day boys in 1907/1908. In the 1911 census Philip was in a boarding school in Lancashire but Basil has not yet been located.

When the war broke out Basil Haye immediately enlisted in the Special Reserve of the Royal Berkshire Regiment and transferred to the Regular Army in October 1915. In May 1915 he went to France with the 2nd Battalion and, as a 2nd Lieutenant, led his company into action at Bois Grenier, part of the Battle of Loos, in October of that year. He was made a Temporary Captain on the 25th of October until the 15th February 1916, and again from May until the 1st of July, the day the Battle of the Somme began. He was wounded severely on the 8th of July but survived and in September 1916 he was made Lieutenant. He was again severely injured on the 5th of March 1917 with a gunshot wound to the head, and the Reading Mercury reported that his father had been informed on March 16th that he was “still dangerously ill; condition unchanged”. He recovered and left the Millbank Hospital in June.

When he returned to duty he was with the 3rd Reserve Battalion in Dublin and in October 1918 he was passed fit for general service. He was returning to England to take up his duties with the 3rd Battalion when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. He did not survive the sinking but his body was recovered and he was buried in Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin. According to his obituary in the Wellington College Year Book of 1918 his superior, Captain Scobell, said that Basil Haye’s men “have left behind a record to their women folk and children that Haye was their Officer, and that he was the best they had ever met”.

In September 1917 his only sister Barbara had married Lieutenant Edmund Hartley who was killed in action on the 1st of September 1918. Basil’s brother Philip had also enlisted in the Berkshire Regiment but was attached to the Machine Gun Corps in Turkey. He fell from his horse and died in April 1919 and was buried in the Tiflis British Cemetery near Istanbul. Both Basil and Philip are remembered on the Crowthorne War Memorial and on the Wellington College Roll of Honour.



  Home        The Sinking        Commemoration        Poetry        People on board        Books & Bulletins        Contact        Privacy        Our Facebook page