CAPTAIN Robert Charles Hayward, from Burscough, fought with valour in the Great War when his battalion came under sustained heavy artillery fire.
Captain Hayward was born and raised in Brough, East Yorkshire, where his father was a corn merchant. When a young man, he worked as a corn salesman in Liverpool before joining the Army.
He enlisted into the 17th Liverpool Regt (1st City Pals) number 15587 on August 31, 1914, as an original “Liverpool Pal”.
Captain Hayward was granted a commission on April 3, 1915, to 2/5th Bn South Lancashire Regiment TF depot, based at St Helens.
He had no rank service with the pals and Hayward went to France as an officer in February 16, 1917, as battalion adjutant.
During his tenure, his responsibilities were considerably heavy, the battalion saw much action in their year in France.
He was awarded his MC for devotion to duty on Jan 1, 1918, in particular stemming from a period of service in July, 1917, in the Bois Grenier Sector, when, in the absence of both his commanding officer and second in command. During that period, his battalion was subjected to a heavy artillery bombardment. It was repulsed thanks to Captain Hayward’s astute command which was credited with repulsing a counter-attack.
In January, 1918, he returned to England sick, drained and riddled with boils which was caused from living in trenches.
The 2/5th battalion was disbanded in France on January 27, 1918, after losing 93 men in one year. Many more were wounded.
Captain Hayward retired to Crosby where he died following an operation for appendicitis in 1933. He is buried in Crosby churchyard.