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RAMC profile of:
William KAY
[Service No:  101951]
 
 


Place or Date
of Birth:
Darwen, Lancs on 13th September 1877

Service Number: 101951

TF Number:

Rank: Pte

Unit: 33rd Field Ambulance

Attached To:

Enlistment Location: Darwen

Also Served: See below

Outcome: Survived the war

Date Died: 17th February 1945
Age Died:

Where Buried and/or Commemorated: Darwen Cemetery

Awards: Medaille d’Honneur Bronze grade

Gazette Reference:
 


Other Information:

William was born at 1 Catty Crew, Darwen on 13th December 1877, however, the 1939 Register gave his date of birth as 30th December 1877. He was baptised on 27th January 1878 at Holy Trinity (now St Peter’s), Darwen. In 1911 his trade was a Cotton weaver, although this changed in 1939 when he was employed as a Motor driver. William attested on 22nd September 1915. He was 37 years and 10 months old, and was living at 22 Hillside Avenue, Darwen at the time. He joined at Cork on 23rd September 1915 into the 16th Royal Army Medical Corps Home Hospital Reserves – General duty Section. On 25th January 1917, he agreed to go on action service. He was posted to serve with the 33rd Field Ambulance: The Darwen News 4th Oct 1919 states “Mr William Kay, of 22 Hillside Avenue, a weaver, employed at New Mill, has been awarded the French Medaille d’Honneur for distinguished services rendered by him during the war. He served altogether three and a half years in the RAMC as a private, and for 15 months was stated in Ireland. On leaving the Emerald Isle he embarked on the Arcadian for Egypt. The ship had reached the Aegean Sea when she was torpedoed by a Hun submarine, and sank in four and half minutes. The torpedo struck he at a quarter past six at night and ex-private Kay was in the water until six minutes past midnight, when he was picked up by a French tramp steamer after he had had a terrible experience. He was landed at Alexandria and was attached to the 74th Division, “Allenby’s Own,” and was at the battle of Gaza and through the Palestine campaign with General Allenby. In 1918 he was transferred to France, and whilst there he had a narrow escape, a motor-car from which he and others had jumped on hearing whistle, being blown up by a shell. He was appointed motor-car orderly, and on one occasion he was stationed between the regimental stretcher-bearers and the advanced dressing station for seven weeks without relief. Upon being relieved he was told he would be recommended for a distinction. Afterwards he served on the Somme.” William joined depot from UK following the sinking of HT “Arcadian" on 29th April 1917. He was then attached the 230th Field Ambulance, on 14th May 1917. He embarked from Alexandria on board HT “Caledonia” for Marseilles with the unit, then disembarked Marseilles on 7th May 1918. He was wounded in action (gunshot wound right knee) on 3rd September 1918. William was presented with the Medaille d’Honneur en Bronze avec Claves on parade at Fulwood Barracks on 11th October 1919. He was the son of William & Catherine (nee Yates); and the husband of Sarah Kay (nee Marsden) - married St John’s Church, Darwen on 16th July 1903. They had one daughter, Ellen Beryl, born 1908. [Information researched and kindly provided by Tony Foster] The Lancashire Telegraph printed an article on William in their Bygones section on 11th January 2017, based on Tony's research. The article can be found at this email address - http://www.lancashiretelegraph.co.uk/bygones/15016324.NOSTALGIA__Darwen_Weaver_Bill_Kay_made_a_dramatic_escape_from_U_Boat_attack/


 
 
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