The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Captain Roger Forrest Hughes, 1st Australian Field Ambulance, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Gueudecourt
Accession Number AWM2016.2.32
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 1 February 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on Captain Roger Forrest Hughes, 1st Australian Field Ambulance, First World War.

The recording for this Ceremony is damaged and not suitable for release to public

Speech transcript

Captain Roger Forrest Hughes, 1st Australian Field Ambulance
DOW 12 December 1916
Photograph: P08188.001

Story delivered 1 February 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Captain Roger Forrest Hughes and the distinguished military service of his extended family.

Roger Forrest Hughes was born on 6 May 1890 to Thomas and Louisa Hughes of Sydney. His father was a prominent solicitor, and became Lord Mayor of Sydney in 1903. He had one brother, Geoffrey, who was five years younger. Roger was educated at St Ignatius’ College in Riverview, where he proved an excellent student. He took particular interest in the classics and language studies, and won medals for Latin and Greek. Following his college education Hughes went to university, where he studied arts and medicine, graduating with a Bachelor of Science and completing his Bachelor of Medicine and Master of Surgery in 1915. At Easter 1916 he married Eileen Maher.

After becoming a doctor, Hughes worked as the medical officer at St Vincent’s Hospital. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in March 1916, shortly after marrying. He went on to join the staff of the No. 4 Military Hospital, and later served at Liverpool and Warren Camp, Marrickville. In August 1916 he was sent to England with the 1st Field Ambulance. On his arrival in England he contracted the measles and spent some time in hospital.

Captain Hughes’s brother, Geoffrey, was also serving in the war. He had travelled to the United Kingdom and enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in early 1916. By the time Roger had reached the battlefields of northern France in early December 1916, Geoffrey was a commissioned pilot serving with No. 10 Squadron.

On 11 December 1916, just one week after joining his unit at the front, Roger Hughes was in the front line near the French village of Gueudecourt. He was struck by an artillery shell and severely wounded.

Hughes was taken to a nearby casualty clearing station with serious compound fractures in both legs. His brother was not far away at the time, and heard of Roger’s condition. Geoffrey rushed to his side, and
was with him when he died the following day. Roger Forrest Hughes was 26 years old.

In early 1917 Roger Forrest Hughes’s only son, Peter Roger Forrest Hughes, was born. Also known as “Roger”, he went on to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force during the Second World War, flying
Wirraways in the Northern Territory. On 3 October 1942, Peter Hughes was killed in action when his aircraft crashed while on an antisubmarine and coastal patrol. His mother, Eileen Hughes, never
remarried, and was killed in an automobile accident while visiting her son’s grave in the Northern Territory in 1946.

Geoffrey Hughes survived the war and maintained his interest in aviation all his life, commanding the flying school at Narrandera during the Second World War. His son, Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes,
continued the family’s distinguished military tradition by serving in the Royal Australian Air Force in Europe during the Second World War.

The name of Roger Forrest Hughes is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War. His photograph is displayed beside the Pool of Reflection.
His son’s name is on my left, among the 40,000 Australians who died during the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We remember the service of Geoffrey Hughes and his son, Tom. And we particularly remember Captain Roger
Forrest Hughes, and his son, Flying Officer Peter Roger Forrest Hughes, who gave their lives for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section