DEATH OF LOCAL POLICEMAN
From the Kent & Sussex Courier - Friday 01 November 1918
P.C. J Ayres, who has for some years been stationed at Five Oak Green, died somewhat suddenly on Saturday morning from influenza. At the beginning of last week, he and his family were all suffering from the prevailing epidemic.*
He was thirty-seven years of age and leaves a widow and seven children. The youngest child is only a few weeks old.
The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, when a number of Police Constables and officers in the Tonbridge Division accompanied the hearse on foot to the churchyard, and the coffin was then borne on the shoulders of a selected number of bearers. The service was conducted by the Rev. G. L. Lachlan and a number of floral tributes was sent.
*Given the date and description of PC Ayres' cause of death, it is very probable he was a victim of the second, and most deadly, of the four waves of what became known as 'Spanish Flu'. This pandemic began in the USA and spread rapidly as large numbers of American troops arrived on the Western Front after their entry into the First World War. The pandemic ran from 1918 until 1920 and, although accurate figures are difficult to verify, it is estimated to have killed between 17-100 million people or 1%-6% of the global population.
(Researched by Graham Rolando)