James Milton Hayes was born in Chorlton, Manchester in 1884 and was baptized at St. Silus Church Ardwick. His father was James William Hayes, a gas fitter.
In the 1901 Census, James Milton gave his profession as ‘Insurance clerk’. By 1911, the family was living in Hyde Grove and James Milton was an ‘entertainer author’ writing and performed monologues which were extremely popular in those pre-television and computer days when the music hall was king.
James was commissioned into the Manchester Regiment on 31st December 1915. In November 1917, he was awarded the Military Cross. In 1918 he was taken prisoner and held at Mainz Citadel in Germany. The writer Alec Waugh, brother of Evelyn Waugh, was a prisoner at Mainz Citadel at the same time as James and later wrote about their meeting.
James, whose professional name was J. Milton Hayes, wrote the now forgotten monologue that was very famous in his day “The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God.” He apparently originally wrote this for the actor Bransby Williams (1870 - 1961) to perform. The monologue was widely performed and later parodied by Stanley Holloway and The Goon Show.
James died in Nice in France in 1940.
Additional information kindly supplied by Andrew Simpson – see Andrew’s weblog about Chorlton, where you will also find the words of that famous monologue: www.chorltonhistory.blogspot.co.uk
In “My Brother Evelyn and Other Profiles” by Alec Waugh (Cassell, London, 1967), Waugh describes James as “A North Country man’ he was nearly forty; he was brisk, assured, purposeful, with his eye on the main chance. He was the first person I heard analyse success”.
I am still researching James for an exhibition panel. I am convinced that the photograph from Google Images is of an RAF uniform in the Second World War. If anyone has any information please get in touch.