No.152444, Private, William Walter HAYGREEN
Aged 28

52nd (New Ontario) Battalion, Canadian Infantry
Killed in Action on Thursday 9th November 1916

William Walter Haygreen was born in Wickhambrook in 1888 (Risbridge Q1-1888 4A:655) son of Arthur William and Jessie Jane HAYGREEN (née THOMPSON).

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at Withams, Wickhambrook with his father Arthur HAYGREEN [30] farm labourer, born Wickhambrook, his mother Jessie [30] born Great Wratting and brother Ernest [5] born Wickhambrook.

His mother died in 1896.

1901 census...Aged 13, he was at Withams, Wickhambrook with his widower father and brother Ernest (farm labourer)

1911 census...A Wm Haygreen sailed from Liverpool to Quebec on the SS "Virginian" on 26th May 1910, this may very well have been William. He has not been found in the census for 1911. His father and his cousin George HAYGREEN [18] labourer born Wickhambrook, were at Withams, Wickhambrook

Probate for his will gives him as resident of Ousden, but that seems more likely to be his father.

Canadian Archives:- RG 150, Accession 1992-93/166, Box 4190 - 26
He enlisted on 6th November 1915 in Brandon, Manitoba in the 79th Battalion. He gave his date of birth as 9th February 1888, in Suffolk. Next of kin, father Mr A Haygreen of Ousden, Newmarket . He was in farming, in Neepawa, Manitoba, his apparent age was recorded as 27 yrs 9 mths, height 5ft 7 ins (170.2 cm), chest 37" to 40" (94 to 101.6 cm), weighed 146 lbs (66.4 kg) religion - Methodist, blue eyes, black hair.

He sailed for UK from Halifax on SS 'Lapland' on 24th April 1916, and went to France on 28th June where he joined the 52nd Battalion. He suffered a bout of German measles from 9th-18th August 1916, being in hospital in St Omer.

He died near to the end of the 1st Battle of the Somme, one of two men from his battalion to die that day. The war diary states:- Nov 9th - Intermittent trench mortars. Rifle grenades. Minenwerfers maintained intermittent shelling during the day. machine gun fired at our aeroplanes during the afternoon and were fairly active at night. Three patrols out during night, 1 being fired killing one man. Trenches still in very bad condition"
This was in the area of Neuville St Vaast.

The Bury Free Press of 25th November 1916 reported :-

Mr. Arthur Haygreen on Saturday received the sad intelligence that his youngest son, Pvt William Haygreen was killed while on patrol duty in "No Man's Land" on the night of the 8th-9th.
Letters have been received from the Captain of the platoon and Sergeant, expressing their sincere sympathy, and assuring him of the high esteem in which his son was held by his officers and comrades.
Prvt Haygreen emigrated to Canada about six years ago, and joined his Majesty's forces in November of last year. He was drafted to England with the Canadian contingent inMay last and was allowed a few days leave to visit his relatives and then was sent to France. Much sympathy is felt in the village for his father. The following is a letter received from the Sergeant:-
"My dear Mr. Haygreen - I was the sergeant who was in command of the platoon in which your son William was serving when he was called away -for he gave his life for a wonderous cause. At the time he was out patrolling, when a sniper shot him, and I have great pleasure in assuring your he died without any pain. His belongings will be forwarded to you only, as I am in charge of the platoon since your son joined us. I am so pleased to tell you that I found Will a man in all things, never shirking his duty, and I am sorry to say that the loss is mine as well as yours, but nevertheless we should be proud to think and know that the life he gave was given doing his duty. He received a proper funeral, a cross 5 feet high marks his resting place and the C of E Chaplain performed the last rites. If I am able to enlighten you on any matter I will do my uttermost, and now I send you the best wishes of all his comrades, who all join with me in expressing our sympathy to the father of a soldier and a man. Believe me, yours in sympathy J.F.Jenkins, Sergt."

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Haygreen is buried in Maroeuil British Cemetery, grave 3:J:14
and is also commemorated on the Ousden Memorial

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details