According to Soldiers Died in The Great War, 1,256 British officers and men died on this day, 14th April, in 1917. The majority of these men would have been killed in the fighting around Arras which, five days earlier had cliamed the lives of, amongst others, the poet Edward Thomas.
27/231 Sergeant Timothy Fay of the 27th (4th Tyneside Irish) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers, died of wounds on this day. He is buried in Etaples Military Cemetery. His number indicates that he was an original member of this battalion who joined it in December 1914. He was born in Newcastle in 1889 and enlisted there at the age of 25. He was a married man, a labourer according to the 1911 census, married to Margaret Ann Fay (nee Grieveson). A two-year-old son, James Fay, appears on the 1911 census and there were at least two daughters, Susannah (born in 1914) and Agnes W (born in 1917). There is also a Margaret A Fay who was born in 1911 and who was also probably a daughter. No service record survives for Timothy but he certainly did not go overseas until 1916 and when he landed in France he was an acting sergeant.
Agnes Fay, born after her father died, was either stillborn, or died shortly after birth. Her birth and death were both recorded in the September quarter of 1917. Either way, Margaret Fay suffered a double bereavement in 1917 losing her husband and baby daughter, and her young family, the oldest of whom would have been no older than eight years, would have to grow up without their father.
After the war ended, Margaret re-married. Her marriage to John J Dixon is recorded in Newcastle-on-Tyne in the June quarter of 1919. The couple would have five children of their own: Thomas (born in 1921), William (born in 1923), Christopher (born in 1927), Elizabeth (born in 1928) and James (born in 1931).
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, WE WILL REMEMBER THEM.