The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1050) Private Herbert Hawkeswood 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Armentieres
Accession Number PAFU2015/105.01
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 5 March 2015
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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (1050) Private Herbert Hawkeswood 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1050 Private Herbert Hawkeswood 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 20 April 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 5 March 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Herbert Hawkeswood.

Herbert Hawkeswood was born in Footscray, Victoria, in 1893. He grew up in South Melbourne and attended school at Mount Pleasant Public School, Ballarat, where he was also a member of the school’s cadets.

After leaving school Hawkeswood gained employment as a caretaker at Victoria Barracks in Melbourne, and was working in this role when the First World War began. He enlisted in Melbourne and was sent to Brisbane, and on joining the Queensland-raised 9th Battalion was posted to C Company.

He embarked with his battalion from Brisbane aboard the transport ship Omrah on 24 September 1914. Arriving in Egypt in November, Hawkeswood began several months of training in the desert sands before being transferred with his battalion to Lemnos in preparation for the Gallipoli campaign.

Hawkeswood was amongst the first wave of men ashore on Gallipoli in the pre-dawn hours of 25 April. He took part in all of the 9th Battalion’s operations until August, when he was evacuated from Gallipoli to Lemnos suffering a gastric complaint. His condition did not improve, and he was sent to England for further treatment and recovery.

On recovery, he re-joined the 9th Battalion on Lemnos in December 1915. The battalion had been withdrawn from Gallipoli in November and returned to Egypt in early January. Following a period of rest and reinforcement, the Hawkeswood and his battalion sailed for France at the end of March.

In mid-April the 9th Battalion was in reserve billets near Rouge-de-Bout, one mile behind the front line in the Armentieres sector. Intermittent artillery fire was landing nearby.

Early in the afternoon of 20 April, tragedy struck when C Company’s billets were heavily shelled. One shell landed outside a canvas tent, wounding four soldiers; as men went to assist, another shell landed among them, killing several and wounding others. A further shell hit the brick wall of a nearby billet, causing a further 47 casualties. C Company was decimated, suffering 50 men wounded and a further 25 killed, one of whom was Herbert Hawkeswood. He was 23 years old.

Later that day the fallen men of C Company were laid to rest in the Rue-Du-Bacquerot (13th London) Graveyard at Laventie. Several other men would die from their wounds over the ensuing days.

Hawkeswood’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with 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 Private Herbert Hawkeswood, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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