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Military Service

Final Rank

Private

Service Number

292
- First World War, 1914-1918

45
- First World War, 1914-1918

4076
- First World War, 1914-1918

Also Known as: Hedley Hawkins; Samuel Hawkins

Birth date: 1897-08-11

Birth place: Australia: Queensland, Brisbane

Death date: 1981-11-02

Samuel Hedley Hemming Hawkins was born in Brisbane, Queensland during 1897 to Hedley and Florence Hawkins.  He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force  on 18 September 1914 whilst still 17 years old, joining the 15th Infantry Battalion.  He had no prior military experience, other than four years with cadets, and was working as factory hand at the time. Hawkins departed Australia for Egypt aboard HMAT Ceramic in December 1914.  

After training in Egypt, Hawkins embarked for Gallipoli, landing late on 25 April 1915.  He spent 5 months fighting on the peninsula before being transferred to hospital in Egypt, suffering from dysentery and shell shock.  Hawkins was discharged from hospital in January 1916 and ordered to return to Australia to recuperate.  

In October 1916 Hawkins joined the Citizen Military Forces, while also working as a clerk in the AIF pay office in Brisbane.  By mid-1917 he had re-enlisted, this time as Hedley Hawkins, joining the 11th Reinforcements for the 4th Pioneer Battalion.  Again, Hawkins exaggerated his age, stating that he was 21 and born in 1895, helping to avoid the need for parental consent.  On 1 August 1917 he travelled aboard HMAT Medic to England.

Hawkins' second term of service was mainly spent at Kandahar Barracks at Tidworth, receiving a brief promotion to acting lance corporal in December 1917.  In mid-1918 he finally saw service overseas, transferring to France with the 4th Pioneer Battalion.  However, this was not to last long. Samuel Hawkins  he returned to England just over six months later and demobilised for return to Australia during January 1919.

Samuel Hedley Hemming Hawkins' son, 404433 Sergeant Hedley Maurice Hawkins served in the Second World War with No. 101 Squadron, Royal Air Force.  Sadly he went missing during a bombing raid over the North Sea on 21 September 1942, and is commemorated at Runnymede Memorial, United Kingdom.