Among those missing, presumed dead, on the first day of the Gallipoli campaign, fighting with the Auckland Infantry Battalion, was a young man originally from Marwood, Thomas Western Hayward, aged 25.
Thomas had been farming in New Zealand but had volunteered at the outbreak of war in August 1914. His father and grandfather, both also named Thomas, had farmed at Marwood before him at Hartnoll Barton and Kingsheanton respectively.
Grandfather Thomas Snr and his wife were active members of the local farming community, she winning prizes for her butter and cream, as at the Barnstaple and North Devon Christmas Show in 1885.
The 1881 Census shows him as farming 280 acres at Hartnoll Barton with his son, Thomas Jnr, living at the same address and farming an additional 150 acres. Thomas Jnr is mentioned in the North Devon Journal in June 1887 for taking an injured farm hand, who had been thrown and crushed by a horse, to the Infirmary in a trap.
Thomas Western Hayward was the eldest son of Thomas Jnr and Minnie, formerly Western from whence came his middle name, born in 1889, and the 1891 Census finds them at Kingsheanton, with a farm servant George Daniel aged 17. In June of that year Thomas Jnr is summoned and fined £1 and expenses, the alternative being 14 days imprisonment, for not allowing his children to be vaccinated.
For some reason Thomas Jnr decided to uproot and move to the other side of the country and in September 1891 an auction was announced for the sale of stock and implements belonging to Mr Thomas Hayward, jun., who is leaving the county. Good prices were realised for the stock which included cows, calves, heifers, steers, ewes, lambs, rams, horses and colts.
Three years later, in November 1894, the extraordinary success as an exhibitor of barley… by the son of a well-known North Devon agriculturalist was reported in the North Devon Journal. Thomas Jnr, then of Valley Farm, Sudbourne, Suffolk winning the champion prize at the Brewers’ Exhibition in London, together with various other medals and cups, and cash prizes to a total value of over £50.
By the time of the 1901 Census the family are settled at Richmond Farm, Gedgrave near Orford, Suffolk and five siblings have been added; Annie, aged 9; Jack, 7; Fred, 5; Edith M, 2; and Violet, 1 month. A monthly nurse and a servant are also living in, helping with the large family.
However this settled life was shortlived with the sudden death of Thomas Jnr at Ipswich Market in July 1905. The East Anglian Daily Times, reported in the North Devon Journal, describes him as well and widely known in East Anglia and universally esteemed as an exhibitor of Shire horses who was gradually building up a stud. Active in business despite serious heart trouble he was also a district councillor and council manager of the Orford Church Schools. Leaving a wife and family of eight young children behind his passing caused much sympathy and outpouring of grief.
1911 finds the widowed Minnie at Rocketts Farm, South Weald, Brentwood, Essex. Thomas Western, now 22, Annie and John (Jack) are working at home on the farm. Alfred, aged 15 in a motor garage, May, 12, and Violet, at school 10; and Dorothy, 7; and Mary 6, presumably at home.
Notices of sale by auction of the stock and contents of Rocketts Farm appear in the local newspapers in the late summer of 1911, instructions having been received from Mrs Hayward who “is leaving the neighbourhood” or who “is leaving the profession”. The stock, including two pedigree Shire mares in foal and a half-bred colt show that her late husband’s stud dream had been carried on by the family.
The household contents of mahogany, oak and walnut furniture, brass bedsteads, spring mattresses and a piano imply a certain level of comfort.
The family are included in the passenger list of the Corinthic sailing from London to Wellington, New Zealand on the 12th October 1911. Although all seem to be in third class Thomas and Alf appear on the first page as farmers and Minnie, described as a housewife, is listed on page six with May, Violet, Dorothy and Molly.
They are recorded as arriving on the Corinthic at Wellington on the 1st December 1911 to start their new life. Minnie aged 44, as a farmer; Thomas and Alf, 21 and 16, as farmhands; Annie, 20, a domestic; and also May, 13, Violet, 10, Dorothy, 9 and Molly, 7, Auckland being named as where they had contracted to land.
According to his later obituary, in the New Zealand Herald, Thomas had bought a farm at Ngarua in the Thames Valley in June 1914 and had just started working on it when he obeyed the call of King and country. nzwargraves.org records that he left Auckland for Suez on 16th October 1914 and that he was unmarried.
Du Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour describes Thomas Western Hayward as the eldest son of the late Thomas Hayward, farmer, by his wife Minnie (now wife of (-) Bennett of Woodside Road, Mount Eden. It is said that he had settled in Ngarua, Auckland, as a farmer; volunteered for Imperial Service, and joined the Auckland Infantry 14 Aug.1914, after the outbreak of war; left for Egypt 11 Oct; proceeded to Gallipoli in April 1915; was reported wounded and missing after the landing there on the 25th, and is now assumed to have been killed in action on that date.
January 1917 sees an appeal against conscription by John Hayward of Ngarua, so it would seem that John (Jack) had joined his family in New Zealand. His brother (presumably Alf/Fred) appears at the hearing in uniform and states that the appellant had offered last year and been rejected but was now managing the family farm in his own absence since enlisting, as their eldest brother had died at Gallipoli. It was said that the family appeared to have done well for the country and the case was adjourned for six months.
In 1933 the New Zealand Herald reports that F Hayward of Ngarua has been elected as a director of the New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd with 56,192 votes, by a majority of 7308, The competitive success of the family also continued in that in 1938 J and T Hayward of Ngarua School are awarded first and third place in their classes in showing heifers at the Royal Show in Hamilton.
In 1941 The Bay of Plenty Beacon refers to A Hayward in a case regarding the exemption from service of an employee while Hayward was managing what were classed as non-productive interests. This was queried as his positions as Chairman and Managing Director of Glen Afton Collieries, Director of the New Zealand Co-operative Dairy Company, and member of the Waitoa dried milk committee could be seen as legitimately supporting the community, and the case was described as the unwarranted attack upon a man performing onerous and essential duties as a representative of the farming community.
In 1938 The Herald reports that Mrs Bennett of Auckland, who has been visiting her daughter, Sister Hayward, of College Street, has left to visit her son, Mr F Hayward, at Ngarua and, later, the Auckland Star reports the death of Mark L Bennett, beloved husband of Minnie in November 1945.
It can be seen that the farm that Thomas was to own so briefly continued to be a source of income and support for his family who rose to responsible positions and esteem in their adopted country. His willingness to serve and meet new challenges echoed that of the family in taking the huge and brave step of emigration in 1911.
Ancestry Library Edition – De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, Census records, UK Passenger Lists (available free online in the Local Studies Centre)
British Newspaper Archive – North Devon Journal, Essex County Chronicle (available free online in the Local Studies Centre)
Familysearch – New Zealand Immigration records
Papers Past – New Zealand Herald, Auckland Star, Bay of Plenty Beacon