The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1659) Private Charles Stephen Haughey, 44th Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.133
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 13 May 2021
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 (1659) Private Charles Stephen Haughey, 44th Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

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Speech transcript

1659 Private Charles Stephen Haughey, 44th Infantry Battalion, AIF
DOW 30 January 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Charles Stephen Haughey.

Charles Stephen Haughey was born on the 27th of March 1892, the 8th child and youngest son of Daniel and Mary Jane Haughey of Warragul, Victoria. When Charles was six years old, his family moved to Armadale in Western Australia. Here he attended Mundijong and Armadale State Schools, and later Perth Technical College. Life was difficult for the Haughey family, and only the youngest of the children were able to receive an education. Charles Haughey never forgot the effort his mother had put into his education. When he was fighting in the war, he made sure that the majority of his pay went to her.

He worked as a delivery boy at the Armadale Post Office and later as a clerk in the Accounts Branch of the Western Australian Lands Department.

Haughey was known as “Charlie” by his family and friends, and was described as “one of the most popular and prominent young men of the parish”. When he left his work with the Lands Department to go and fight in the Great War, all his workmates gave him their sincere best wishes, and presented him with the expensive gift of a silver watch and chain.

Haughey volunteered to join the Australian Imperial Force in January 1916. According to one report, he enlisted on the encouragement of a young girl he liked, and he soon joined the newly formed 44th Infantry Battalion. This unit was known as “Old Bill’s Thousand” after its first commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel William Mansbridge.
On 6 June 1916, Haughey and the 44th Battalion sailed from Fremantle, Western Australia, for Plymouth, England, aboard the transport ship Suevic. Once in England, Haughey undertook special signals training at the camp at Tidsworth before returning to the 44th Battalion on 9 November 1916. Later that month, he sailed with his unit for France and the war on the Western Front.

Haughey and the 44th Battalion initialy served in the Armentieres sector of the front in northern France. Throughout November and most of December they remained behind the lines training, constructing huts and improving billets. On 22 December, they were inspected by Sir Douglas Haig, commander of the British Expeditionary Force, who commented on their “soldierly appearance and bearing”.

Throughout late December 1916 and into January 1917, they endured the hardships, horrors and drudgery of trench warfare on the Western Front. The men spent their time either manning the front-line trenches east of Armentieres, or training and working behind the lines.
On 30 January 1917, Haughey and the 44th Battalion were resting in billets behind the lines near Armentieres after having spent the previous six days on the front line. Haughey was in one of the huts with other members of his company when a corporal brought in the nose of an unexploded German artillery shell – which the men thought had already been detonated. Haughey began tampering with the shell by tapping it with a hammer when it exploded, seriously injuring Haughey and two other soldiers.

Haughey was rushed to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station with severe and extensive injuries to his torso and right arm. Despite desperate medical attention, he died a few hours later.

He was 24 years old.

He is buried in the Trois Arbres Cemetery in France, where over 1,700 casualties of the First World War now lie.
Private Charles Stephen Haughey is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 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 Private Charles Stephen Haughey, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

David Sutton
Historian, Military History Section

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