James Blackwood Hay


Key Information

Name: James Blackwood Hay
DoB: October 18 1887
Regt: Second Lieutenant.York and Lancaster Regiment
DoD: October 29 1918
Academic Career: CGS 1900-1906.  Armstrong College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne 1906-9

View the Houghton War Memorial PDF

jb hay war

James Blackwood Hay

  • James was the only son of James and Jane Hay (nee McPherson). He had a younger sister Elizabeth born when he was eight years old. His father was a gardener and by 1901 was head gardener at Houghton Hall, Houghton. His younger sister died unmarried in Houghton village in 1965. Both his parents came from Scotland. James married Catherine Sutton at Jesmond Wesleyan Church,  Newcastle-upon-Tyne in early 1917. When he died he left an estate of £247.

  • James went to the Grammar School in 1900, and became a George Moore Exhibitioner in 1902. He was head of school in his final year, 1906. He then went to Armstrong College Newcastle-upon-Tyne, which is now part of Newcastle University but at that time degrees were awarded by Durham University. He graduated in 1909 with a B.Litt. He was awarded a masters degree in 1916.


  • After leaving Armstrong College he taught at four schools. Firstly as assistant master at Montrose Academy, secondly at Wem Grammar School, Salop, then at Woodhouse Secondary School, Sheffield, and finally at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

    His family had his gravestone inscribed with the phrase “until the morning break“.

  • The 8th Service Battalion was formed in Sept 1914 and  moved to Italy in November 1917 as part of the 23rd Division.

  • James enlisted in Carlisle in June 1916, and was called up four months later in October. He was a private in the Liverpool Regiment and applied for a commission within weeks of enlistment. He served in France for two weeks in February 1917, and was then recalled to England to attend cadet school. On receiving his commission in August 1917 he was promoted to second lieutenant and joined the 4th Battalion Territorial Force attached to the 8th Service Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment. He went to Italy in Dec 1917 and died of influenza and broncho-pneumonia in hospital on October 29 1918. He is buried at Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa. 

  • a) Census RG14/16197/0527; RG14/31342/0123; RG13/4870;RG12/4292

    b) National Probate Calendar on www.Ancestry.co.uk

    c)Commonwealth War Graves Commission

    d) London Gazette 25th Sept 1917

    e) Cumberland News 9/11/1918

    f) York and Lancs Regt War Diary WO95/4240