The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (274) Sergeant John Huon Hooke, 6th Battalion, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.236
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 August 2018
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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (274) Sergeant John Huon Hooke, 6th Battalion, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

274 Sergeant John Huon Hooke, 6th Battalion
DOW 25 April 1915
Story delivered 24 August 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant John Huon Hooke.

John Hooke was born in 1889, one of four children of Charles and Maude Hooke of Ravenswood near Bendigo in central Victoria. The Hookes were well-known and respected landowners who possessed strong pioneering ties in New South Wales and Victoria. John attended Ravenswood State School and Bendigo Grammar School, where he was involved in senior cadets. Afterwards, he worked as a clerk at the Bendigo branch of the Bank of Australasia and was an active member of the local lawn tennis club. He took up a position as an accountant at the bank’s head office on Collins Street in Melbourne in 1912, where he was working on the eve of the First World War.

John Hooke enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force less than two weeks after Britain declared war on Germany. After a period of training at the military camp in Richmond, during which he was promoted to sergeant, Hooke sailed for Europe with the first troopship convoy in October 1914 as an original member of the 6th Battalion. On the day before he sailed for the Great War, John married Constance Huon at the Holy Trinity Church in Kew.

Ottoman Turkey entered the war on the side of the Central Powers after the convoy set sail, and so the Australian and New Zealand troops on board were disembarked in Egypt to protect British interests in the area. By April 1915, they joined British and French troops in a series of landings along the Gallipoli peninsula in an effort to gain control of the Dardanelles, and ultimately knock the Ottoman Empire out of the war.

The 6th Battalion landed on Gallipoli on the morning of 25 April 1915, coming ashore under fire as part of the second wave assault from around 5.30 am. The battalion pushed inland into the steep, precipitous terrain to reinforce the 9th and 12th Battalion in the area that became known as Bolton’s Ridge. As the 6th Battalion pressed inland, it was engaged by sporadic rifle and artillery fire from the Ottoman defenders who inflicted a heavy toll.

Hooke was seriously wounded in fighting that morning. Men who were with him described how he had been wounded in the leg in the midst of the fighting but refused to leave his post. An hour later, he was rendered unconscious from a bullet wound to his head. He was evacuated to Anzac Cove and was taken aboard the hospital ship Seang Choon, where he died later that day.

He was buried at sea, and was later listed on the Lone Pine Memorial alongside 5,000 Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died on Gallipoli who have no known grave.

John Hooke was 25 years old.

His family were devastated by the loss of their son and husband. In an effort to console them, the men who John served alongside wrote to his family to reassure them that “everything that was possible was done for him, but his case was hopeless from the first. Before he was killed, Sergeant Hooke did some very good work, proving himself a very brave man and a good soldier. We all feel proud that he belonged to our company. During the nine months he was with us he won for himself the esteem and regard of every member of the company, and believe me, we all regret his death very much.”

John Hooke’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

His is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant John Huon Hooke, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

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