The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2903) Private Oscar Hyles and (2910) Elliott Hyles, 60th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.267
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 24 September 2017
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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (2903) Private Oscar Hyles and (2910) Elliott Hyles, 60th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2903 Private Oscar Hyles, 60th Battalion, AIF
KIA 26 April 1918
2910 Private Elliott Hyles, 60th Battalion, AIF
KIA 26 September 1917

Story delivered 24 September 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Privates Oscar and Elliott Hyles.

Oscar Hyles was born in 1889 at the family home “Wood Glen” near Adaminaby, New South Wales, the first of seven children born to Oscar and Clara Hyles. Though there was eight years between them, Oscar and his younger brother Elliott, who was born in 1897, were very close.

The brothers attended the local school locally, after which they went to work as farm labourers, growing to be tall and powerfully built men.

By the time the First World War began, Oscar and Elliott were working on adjacent farming properties at Rhine Falls near Cooma. The brothers enlisted together in Goulburn on 9 August 1916. After initial training they were initially allotted to reinforcements to the 55th Battalion, but were later transferred to reinforcements for the 60th Battalion.

Oscar and Elliott left Sydney in early November aboard the transport ship Afric, bound for England. After several months of training, they were sent to France, where they joined the 60th Battalion in mid-April 1917.
The following month the 60th Battalion played a supporting role during during the Second Battle of Bullecourt before being moved to the Ypres Salient.

On 26 September, the battalion took part in the attack on Polygon Wood. The brothers were together when Elliott was hit in the arm. He was in
good spirits as he set out for the aid station. Oscar was standing next to his wounded brother when a German shell landed nearby. The resulting explosion killed Elliott outright. He was 20 years old.

Elliott’s body was later seen by some of his comrades on the side of a road near Anzac House pillbox and he was buried near Zillebeke. After the war, his remains could not be identified and his name was added to the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing.

Oscar was devastated by his brother’s death and was sent to a rest camp for ten days in early October, but this did little to alleviate the pain of his brother’s loss.

In late March 1918, the German army launched its Spring Offensive, attempting to drive the allies back to the sea. The 60th Battalion was involved in stemming the German offensive in the Corbie area. On 25 April 1918, Oscar Hyles took part in the 15th Brigade’s famous capture of Villers-Bretonneux.

The following day, Oscar and another man in his Lewis gun team were resting in a dugout in a reserve trench forward of Villers-Bretonneux. When a German artillery bombardment began, a shell hit the dugout, killing Oscar and his comrade instantly. Oscar Hyles was 29 years old. He was buried near where he was killed, but after the war his remains were exhumed and reinterred in Crucifix Corner Cemetery.

The names of Oscar and Elliott Hyles appear on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in 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 Privates Oscar and Elliott Hyles, who gave their lives for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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