Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Story of the Haines Brothers

The Haines brothers were both born in Glenelg. They were living in Quorn, as were their parents, Charles and Clara, at the time the war broke out. Their father was an engine driver.

Hurtle Thomas Haines was the older of the two, almost 24 when he enlisted. He was a locomotive fireman with a dark complexion, brown eyes and black hair. Charles Ernest Haines was 19 and a half, not quite as dark as his brother but with the same colour hair and eyes. The younger Charles was working as a shop assistant when he enlisted but he had been in military cadets for 7 years and the Citizens Forces for 18 months.
They both enlisted at Quorn on the same day and were both attached to A Company of the 2nd Depot Battalion. It was 16 May, 1916.

Their apparent plan to stay together started to come unstuck on the 3 July when Hurtle was admitted to the camp hospital complaining of abdominal pain. He was examined for a hernia but nothing was found, so he was discharged and allotted to the 20th reinforcements of the 10th Battalion. Meanwhile Charles came down with the flu and spent 7 days in hospital at Mitcham. When he was discharged he was sent back to the second reinforcements to the 43rd Battalion, which he had joined previously in June.

Now in different units, the brothers embarked for overseas in August. On the 12th aboard HMAT Ballarat for Charles and 16 days later on the HMAT Anchises for Hurtle.
Both disembarked at Plymouth, with Charles arriving on the last day of September and Hurtle arriving on the 11th of October. Hurtle spent his next few weeks with the Third Training Battalion at Perham Downs while Charles was with the 11th Training Battalion at Cosford.

Neither of the brothers returned to the units they set out from Australia to join. In November Charles was taken on strength by 41 Battalion and on the 24th of that month embarked for overseas via Southampton.
Hurtle was transferred to 27 Battalion and departed from Folkestone aboard the SS Golden Eagle eight days before Christmas, 1916. He was officially taken on strength on new years day, 1917.

Six and a half months after enlisting, both brothers were on French soil.

On the 3 January, Charles was promoted in the field to Lance Corporal but at the end of February he was wounded in the back and side. He ended up in the Ninth Australian Field Hospital. Two days later Hurtle was killed at Warlencourt and buried in the field. Charles was discharged from hospital at the end of March and rejoined 41 Battalion. He too was killed just 4 days after rejoining his unit.
News of Charles wounding reached his parents in Quorn, followed by news of Hurtle’s death. Their father wrote on April 10 enquiring about how Hurtle was killed and how Charles was. His reply was that no further information was known about Hurtle and Charles was also dead.

The brothers’ mother received a pension of 40 shillings per fortnight due to the loss of her sons. By this time Clara was living in Alberton, back in Adelaide. In July, Richard Holberton’s mother Eliza tried to contact Clara through military channels. Even though Richard was a signaler with 48 Battalion, his mother thought Richard and Hurtle were trench mates. Richard must have mentioned Hurtle in letters written home to her. Richard also was killed April.

Today the grave of Charles is in the London Rifle Brigade Cemetery. Hurtle has no known grave and is commemorated on the Villers Bretonneux Memorial
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Anonymous said...

Stephen, my daughter is studying her great great great uncle Charlie and Hurtle. Would love to correspond.

Rob de Nys

Anonymous said...

My two great Uncles,
Jefferson Welsh