The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (731) Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Flers
Accession Number AWM2016.2.311
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 6 November 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Joanna Smedley, the story for this day was on (731) Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

731 Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion, AIF
KIA 24 November 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 6 November 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden.

Known as “Charlie”, Hayden was a red-haired, blue-eyed cab driver from rural New South Wales who enlisted just a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. He was posted as a private in the 9th Battalion, and just two months later left Australia for in Egypt.

Hayden was present at the Gallipoli landings and, apart from three months spent recovering from a gunshot wound, remained there until the evacuation in December 1915. Back in Egypt Hayden was transferred to the 49th Battalion as a part of the reorganisation of the AIF. He was sent to France and promoted to lance corporal in the battalion’s signals section.

The 49th Battalion’s first experience of war on the Western Front came at Mouquet Farm in August 1916. Hayden was commended for his excellent service in running messages when all other lines of communication were cut off by heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. He also helped to keep wire communications open during the heavy bombardment. This usually involved running out to repair damaged lines under heavy fire. For his actions he was awarded the Military Medal.

Hayden’s bravery in the field and devotion to duty also brought him further promotion in September 1916 when he was made corporal. On 24 November 1916 Corporal Hayden and Second Lieutenant Philip Tuckett went to inspect telephone lines in the field near the French village of Flers. This was not expected to be a particularly dangerous task, but they came under some artillery fire and were struck by a single shell. They were instantly killed.

Hayden and Tuckett were buried together in a single grave in the field, under a cross that bore both names. Hayden’s father was given his son’s Military Medal, as there had not been time for Charles to receive it before his death.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (731) Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)