Chayet (Kaye), Max

RAMC, Twesledown, 31st July 1915.

Born Minsk, Russia, 1891. Son of Berko and Sarah Chayet, of 6 Sergeyevskia Street, Minsk. Max worked as a dispenser and was studying medicine in England when War began. He joined the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC), in Hull, on 2 July 1915, aged 23. He was resident at 338 Hessle Road. His “Soldier’s Small Book” gave his religion as Jewish, his next-of-kin as uncle, Solomon Finestein (his mother’s brother), and his place of birth as Leeds. Max trained at the Tweseldown Camp, Farnham Surrey, home of the RAMC. After three months training, his group, the 39th Field Ambulance, were marched to Southampton and embarked for Malta, where they had a first taste of action. For example, his diary entries on 29 August are simply “Fatigue” and “Unloading wounded”. A few days later they embarked for Alexandria, Lemnos and Gallipoli. Meanwhile, a touching entry in his diary on 8 September, in Alexandria reads “Went to synagogue” – an online calendar tells us that this was Erev Rosh Hashana. Between landing at Cape Hellas, Gallipoli, on 16 September and embarking from Suvla Bay on 11 December, the 39th Field Ambulance would have encountered horrific action. Yet his diary entries for that period include only laconic comments, such “Ill”, “diarrhea”, “Snow blizzard” and “Stretcher squads to Chocolate Hill by night”. After Gallipoli there was some respite in Egypt before a final destination, presaged by the diary entries on 10 March 1916 “Matina camp”, “Embarked small boat” and “Going up the river”, which are followed on 13 March by one single last word “Mesopotamia”. It was here, now part of Iraq, that on 9 April 1916, Max died of his wounds. His name is listed on the Basra Memorial. It has now been updated to read “In Memory of Private, Max Chayet, Mentioned in Dispatches. (Served as Max Kay). Son of Mrs Sarah Chayet, of Minsk, Russia”. His mother Sarah was granted his war pension, and the Ministry of Pensions records even show correspondence about a possible increase as late as 1938. Max was likely reticent, self effacing, studious and dutiful. Moreover, there may have been a romantic interest in his life, because on 11 October the diary notes, “Received a letter from Rose” and among the addresses was a Rosa Sharah, of Osbourne Street, Hull. (Thank You to Howard Cuckle, for the above information, sent 05/05/2018)

First name:
Military Number:
Date Died
Place died:
Basra War Memorial, Iraq
Place Buried