Hamilton Fraser Hay

Information about birth

Date of birth:
Place of birth:
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

General information

Last known residence:
Linwood, Christchurch, New Zealand
Church of England

Army information

New Zealand
New Zealand Expeditionary Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Trentham, Wellington, New Zealand
 —  New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 3rd Bn.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Jubilee Croft, Beselare, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: XII
Row: A
Grave: 18

Distinctions and medals 2

Points of interest 4

#1 Place of birth
#2 Last known residence
#3 Enlistment place
#4 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Rifleman Hamilton Fraser Hay was born and lived in Christchurch, New Zealand. He married Beatrice Louise Barson in 1903 and together they got 5 children: Aubrey (1906), Alexander (1909), Margaret (1911), Lorna (1914) and Jack Alfred George (1916) and worked as bricklayer for the Christchurch Tramways.

On 13 April 1916 he , aged 35, enlisted the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 3rd Battalion and sailed on 26 July 1916 for Europe where he disembarked in Devonport on 3rd October 1916.
He never met his last born as he departed in July and Jack A.G. was born 14th August 1916.

Early in November 1917 II Anzac Corps was redeployed back into the Salient but this time south, rather than north of the Ypres-Roulers railway line. Its front ranged from Tiber for nearly 5 miles south along the key Broodseinde Ridge, in front of Polygon Wood, and down to the Reutelbeek, within a mile of the Menin Road near Gheluvelt, still held by the Germans.

On 16th November 1917 the New Zealand Division took command of the Corps right sector. Its line extended for about 1,5 miles from the salient at the Noordemdhoek through the ruins of Reutel and across the northern slopes of Cameron Covert.
The headquarters of both front-line battalions of the Rifle Brigade were located in improved German tunnels in the Butte de Polygon, a huge stump-covered artificial mound in the north-eastern corner of Polygon Wood. The forward part of the sector, situated on a low plateau, was swept continuously by machine-gun fire. The whole surface of the country from the front line westward was literally disintegrated by shell-fire, and every hollow converted into a loathsome bog.

In the night of the 19th/20th November the 4th and 1st Battalions were relieved in the front line by the 2nd and 3rd respectively. Machine-gun and artillery fire continued unabated. Headquarters being subjected to a particularly heavy bombardment on the 20th. German snipers, at first very troublesome, were now being got well under control.

It was under these circumstances rifleman Hamilton Fraser Hay, 36 years of age, was killed in action near Jubilee Croft. His body was buried at place and later exhumed and reburied and now resting in Buttes New British Cemetery plot XII, row A, grave 18.

Sources 8

"From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth, the New Zealand Division on the Western Front 1916-1918",Gray J.H., Willsonscott Publishing, Christchurch NZ, 2010, page 159 - 161
Sources used
"The New Zealand Division 1916 - 1919", Stewart H., Authority of the New Zealand Government, Intype London Ltd, p304 - 306
Sources used
"The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade", Austin W.S., The Naval | Military Press Ltd, Uckfield UK, 2007, page 251-254
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NZEF Project
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The long long trail
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