Heritage column: The Chigwell family who bore the cost of the First World War
- Credit: Paul Wickett
Sgt Sidney Hayter of the 12th Rifle Brigade lived in Grove Cottage, Chigwell Row.
He had two sisters Violet and Lily, and three brothers Albert, Stanley and Ernest.
His parents were Eliza and Frank. Frank was the gardener at Grove House, an Elizabethan manor said to have belonged to Sir Francis Drake.
The family lived at Grove Cottage, which became a very sad home after the war.
Sidney was awarded the military medal for bravery in June 1916.
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This award followed the outstanding action of his battalion on September 11 and 12 1916 in Belgium.
Ypres was under fire from German positions on higher ground to the east of the city.
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There were huge gaps between trenches and many trenches had been blown in.
In one of these trenches Sidney’s 12th Rifle Brigade made a heroic stand under continual shell-fire.
For many hours they withstood an attack from 200 German soldiers who took a trench beside them.
Two bombing attacks were repulsed at great cost, leaving one sergeant and seven men who then worked all that night strengthening the barricades.
In total the 12th Rifle Brigade lost three officers and about 100 men.
They received the praise of the Commander-in-Chief and the Army, Corps, Divisional and Brigade Commanders.
Medals were awarded to those who figured prominently in the action.
Sidney was promoted to sergeant in the field on September 8 1916.
Ten days later he was wounded in action and died on September 21 1916.
His older brother, Albert was a lance-corporal in the 9th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment.
On October 12 1916 Albert’s battalion advanced on Bayonet Trench, near Flers, on the Somme.
They made good progress until they came up against thick barbed wire, which stopped their advance.
The men hid in shell-holes while being fired on by German troops.
Albert’s battalion returned fire and held their position, but hundreds of men were lost.
Albert was wounded and died of his wounds on October 13 1916, less than a month after his brother.
Albert left behind a wife, Lily and daughter Lilian Alberta.
Samantha Crowe is related to the Hayters.