The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (731) Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/140.01
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 24 November 2013
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 (731) Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

731 Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion
KIA 24 November 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 24 November 2013

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden.

Charlie Hayden was a red-haired, blue-eyed cab driver from rural New South Wales who enlisted just a few weeks after the outbreak of the First World War. He enlisted in Casino, and was posted as a private in the 9th Battalion. Just two months later he left Australia and arrived in Egypt in early December 1914.

Hayden was present at the landing on Gallipoli and, apart from three months spent recovering from a gunshot wound, stayed there until the evacuation in December 1915.

After Gallipoli Hayden was transferred to the 49th Battalion as a part of the reorganisation of the AIF and sent to France. He was then promoted to lance corporal in the signals section of the battalion.

The 49th Battalion's first experience of war on the Western Front came at Mouquet Farm in August 1916. Hayden was commended for his excellent service in running messages when all other lines of communication were cut off by heavy artillery and machine-gun fire. He also, with two other men, helped to keep wire communications open during the heavy bombardment. This usually involved running out to repair damaged lines under heavy fire. For his bravery in carrying out this work during the operation he was awarded the Military Medal.

Charlie Hayden's bravery in the field and devotion to duty brought him further promotion in September 1916 when he was made corporal. On 24 November 1916 Corporal Hayden and Second Lieutenant Philip Tuckett went to inspect telephone lines in the field near the French village of Flers. This was not expected to be a particularly dangerous task, but they came under some artillery fire and were both struck by a single shell. Hayden and Tuckett were killed instantly.

Charlie Hayden was buried together with Philip Tuckett in a single grave in the field, under a cross that bore both names. Hayden had survived the landing at Gallipoli and the hellish shell-fire of Mouquet Farm; Tuckett had been on the front line just four days. Charlie Hayden's father was given the Military Medal on behalf of his son, as there had not been time for Charlie to receive the medal before his death.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on your left, along with around 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (731) Corporal Reginald Charles Hayden, 49th Battalion (Infantry), First World War (video)