The announcement of Hayward's death in the North China Herald on 27 November 1915
Edward John Hayward was born in Chunking [Chongqing] in 1893 and was educated at one of the China Inland Mission Schools at Chefoo. Later he returned to England to Whitgift Grammar School in Croydon.
On returning to China in 1911 he joined Messr’s Mackenzie & Co. He was a member of the Deluge Company of the Fire Brigade and the Maxim Company of the SVC.
His first game of rugby in Shanghai was actually for the Shanghai Saracens in their one and only game in December 1911. He later played for the Maxim Company in the league and for Shanghai Rugby Club, his last game being 28 February 1914.
Hayward left Shanghai for Europe on 30 October 1914. On arrival he was gazetted to the 5th Battalion Royal Fusiliers and had attended a machine gun course. He was under no illusions about what was waiting for him in France. His regiment’s 3rd Battalion had already had a tough time, In a letter home he wrote ‘there were fellows who left here and were killed within five days and others wounded and back in London within a week.’ He ended his letter ‘As to going abroad, I am well on the top of the list, and I think before this letter reaches you I shall have left.’
He was posted to Gallipoli in early October 1915 before being sent to Suvla Bay at the end of the month. He spent a few days in the firing line before doing some ‘navvy’ work unloading boats. His last letter home was written the day before he died:'The Brigade job has come off, though I am only on probation for a week, but hope that in the course of a day or two I shall be confirmed in it. I am therefore having a "top-hole" time at present as I am not actually in the trenches, only going up there for about three hours or so each day. I am on the Staff and so mess with the General, etc. We have a good mess and a great thing is being able to get into pyjamas at night, and have an undisturbed night’s rest. My duties are not very arduous, but there is a great deal of responsibility attached to them. I am responsible to the General alone for my work, and I have the running of the gear of five battalions, which is quite interesting'.
The details of Hayward’s death were reported to his family by another Shanghai man, Lieutenant H V Wilkinson. Writing just hours after avoiding the sniper’s bullet that killed Hayward he wrote;'These things are not pleasant to have to write, but no doubt you would like to have details, such as they are. At 2.30 this afternoon we met by appointment, and after discussing various details of overhead machine gun fire, went to look at some gun pits, and it was whilst jumping out of one of these - which was in course of construction that a sniper got him. I jumped over first, and he was following so close that he actually hit me in falling. He never uttered a sound or regained consciousness, and passed away half-an hour later, i.e. about 3.30 p.m. He was hit clean through the temple. Hayward only came up to the firing line four days ago, and was appointed temporarily Brigade Machine Gun Officer next day so was not known by many, but his sad death is much deplored by all of us, especially by me, as I knew him in Shanghai. I was in the P. & O. Office out there and we used to come in contact over business.It is all too sad, but no one could ask for a finer ending than fighting for Righteousness, your King and Country.'
He was buried at dusk in small cemetery behind the firing line, the Brigadier and half a dozen officers being present.
Endnote: The medals awarded Hayward in the War were sold at Christies on 10 November 1992. They realised £220.
Hayward was buried in Turkey at Azmak Cemetery, Suvla. Click here to see more details.
Edward John Hayward (1893 - 1915)