Lieutenant, Royal Lancaster Regiment
Born: March 22nd 1895
Died: April 25th 1917
Age at Death: 22
Killed in action Monchy-le-Preux, France, April 25th 1917
Son of C.A. Jay of King William's Town, South Africa.
A donation to the memorial statue has been made in honour of this soldier by Paul and Patricia Goodman.
Obituary Brightonian XV July, 1917
Jay left the College in 1912 and had seen considerable service before his death. he went through the German West African Campaign and after its conclusion returned to England and was given a commission in the King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. He was in the Somme offensive last summer, and was slightly wounded in January of this year. We quote from an extract from a brother officer's letter: - "On April 25th, he was in command of 'D' Company, holding the newly captured position in front of Monchy, when a heavy shell burst in the trench near where he was standing. He was badly hit, and died almost immediately in his servant's arm. I cannot tell you how deeply we share your sorrow, or how sincerely we feel for you in this overwhelming blow. He was such a splendid officer, fearless and cool under fire, a born leader of men because he was always so considerate for them. His men loved him and would have followed him anywhere, and his death is a great loss to the Battalion."
Lieutenant William Oak Jay
William Jay was born on 22nd March 1895 in South Africa. His parents were Charles Jay and his wife Gertrude of King William’s Town, Cape Colony. South Africa. Jay’s mother was widowed during or just after the Boer War and the family returned to Britain to live in Hove. However as soon as he left school Jay returned to South Africa and ,although it is unknown which actual unit he served in at this stage, it is clear that on the outbreak of war in 1914 he fought with the South African forces which drive the Germans out of their colony in South-West Africa (now Namibia). After the completion of that campaign he returned to Britain and was commissioned into the 8th Battalion, King’s Own Lancaster Regiment which landed in France as part of the 25th Division on 27th September 1915, although it was later transferred to the 3rd Division. In the course of the extensive campaigns that followed
Jay was promoted to Lieutenant.
With the Third Division the Battalion was involved in the Arras Offensive and in the course of the latter stages of this attack Jay was killed on the 25th April 1917 when the Battalion was involved in repulsing German counter-attacks in the Monchy Le Preux area. It appears that his body was never identified because there is no known grave.
Jay is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, Bay 2.
Source: LEST WE FORGET PROJECT, Brighton College 2014/15