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Wellsville Veterans

Morrison Hayes (1895-1918)

On July 19, 1918, Morrison Hayes, 22, was killed in action in France. He had served in the 12th Machine Gun Battalion, 4th Division and is buried in Plot A, Row 11, Grave 8, Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, Belleau, France. In February, 1920, the Morrison Hayes, Post No. 702, of the American Legion was organized, named in Morrison’s honor. Researched, transcribed, and compiled by Stephen Sweet.


 

MORRISON HAYES KILLED IN ACTION

Another Wellsville Soldier Makes the Supreme Sacrifice

(Wellsville Allegany County Reporter September 3, 1918.)


Mrs. Noble Ferris, of North Brooklyn avenue received a telegram last evening from the War Department at Washington, announcing that her brother, Corporal Morrison Hayes, had been killed in battle in France, but giving no details. Probably the particulars of the sad event will come by letter later on.

Corporal Hayes was 22 years of age, and enlisted a year ago at Hornell in the Infantry, and was afterwards transferred to the 12th Machine Gun Company, where he was serving when he was struck by the fatal missile. From Hornell he was taken to Camp Greene, at Charlotte, N.C., where he remained in training until he went to France. Corporal Hayes is survived by his father, Clark Hayes, and three sisters all of Wellsville. They are, Mrs. Noble Ferris, Mrs. Edward Ebeling, and Mrs. Eric Allen.

The shock to these relatives is a severe one, and they have the deepest sympathy of all in their sad bereavement.

(The above news item omits Morrison's surviving brothers, who were William W. Hayes, George F. (Gabby) Hayes, and Clark B. Hayes.)


Morrison Hayes was awarded the Distiguished Service Cross for his actions during World War I. The citation reads: 

The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, July 9, 1918, takes pride in presenting the Distinguished Service Cross (Posthumously) to Corporal Morrison Hayes (ASN: 567487), United States Army, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving with Company D, 12th Machine-Gun Battalion, 4th Division, A.E.F., near Hautevesnes, France, 19 July 1918. Although wounded during an advance, Corporal Hayes refused to be evacuated and led his squad forward with the Infantry, placing the gun in action in the front line. Exposed to intense fire, he maintained his gun in action until he received a second wound, which later proved fatal. When ordered to withdraw, he assisted in moving the gun back to another position, inspiring his men by his personal heroism."


 

This is a letter Morrison wrote while serving in France, shortly before he was killed in action. It was published in the Wellsville Allegany County Reporter, June 18, 1918.  Morrison was in his early twenties:

May 18, 1918

Dear Sir,

As I am going to drop a few lines to everybody at home I will only be able to write a few lines but will write to you at least once a week. Well, I am in France at last and rather like it. It is a beautiful country, only the cities here seem real old fashioned. We get a newspaper here every day giving us all the base ball dope so you see some of it is pleasure. I wish you would phone father and tell him to write as I have only heard from him twice since February. I am writing him a few lines today.

The first day we were here I had the pleasure of seeing about 50 German prisoners. They were all big fellows, some six feet and better and two French soldiers were guarding them. The Frenchmen were not more than 5 ft. 4 tall. To show you how much the Boches prisoners want to get away I will tell you a little incident.

They tell here that a German prisoner escaped and was gone for about 2 months, and then he came back and had 5 other Germans with him, and not even a guard. I don't know whether this will be censored or not. For the last 25 miles before we arrived all we could see was vineyards, or in other words the section we are in is not an extensive farming country. Takes more to vineyards and small garden plots.

The people in America don’t know how well they are off. Here each family has flour cards, meat cards and the men even have tobacco cards, which means they are allowed so much and no more. We see old men and real young boys but everyone in the draft age has gone to war.

The Y.M.C.A. is doing wonderful work here. We are able to buy a real lot of American things; much more than I thought we would be able to. Everything is real high here, especially candy, which is very scarce. Well, I will have to close for this time as I have quite a few more letters to write.

In your letters let the folks know you heard from me and that I am all O.K. I want you to send me some chocolate candy. Try and get Hershey’s in the thick bar. I will write again next week. Love to all.

Sgt. Morrison Hayes
Co. B 10th M Gun Ba.
Am E. F.

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