CWG: Private Nathaniel Haydon

Private Nathaniel Haydon

Nathaniel Maurice Haydon was born on 26th May 1900, and was the youngest of four children to Edgar and Edith Haydon. Edgar was a surgeon from Bovey Tracey, Devon, but the family were born and raised in Newton Abbot.

Edgar’s work gave them a comfortable lifestyle: the 1901 census shows the family had four live-in servants. Edith passed away from cancer in July 1903, when her youngest was only a toddler. Edgar married again – to a Gertrude Godwin, fourteen years his junior – four years later; given his role in the community, this is likely to have provided the family with a level of stability.

By the time of the 1911 census, Nathaniel and his older brother Frank were recorded as boarders in a private school in the town, while Edgar and Gertrude were listed at the family home with two domestics.

War was coming to Europe, but Nathaniel was initially young to become involved. Spurred on when his oldest brother, Edgar, was killed at the Somme in July 1916, he applied to join the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps in the summer of 1918. He was accepted, and sent off to Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, for training that September.

Sadly, it was Private Haydon’s eagerness to emulate his brother that led to his undoing. While at the camp, he contracted pneumonia, and passed away on 1st November 1918, aged just 18 years old.

Nathaniel Maurice Haydon’s body was brought back to Devon for burial. He was laid to rest in the family plot in the graveyard of St Mary’s Church, Wolborough, Newton Abbot.


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