Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Story of John Edward Hawes

John was a 19 year old farm labourer when he enlisted on 16th October 1916. His family lived on their farm at Wyacca, north of Quorn. His father was also known as John.
John was enlisted as a private and embarked for Europe aboard the HMAT “Afric”. It was the 7th November when he left Adelaide as part of the 22nd reinforcements for the 10th Battalion.
After a Christmas at sea, John disembarked in Plymouth in early January, 1917.
By the end of January John had been admitted to the 2nd Auxilary Hospital in Southall with what was diagnosed as the flu, however after three weeks he was well enough to be released and marched into the 3rd Training Battalion in Durrington.
His training on the Salisbury plains continued until on the 9th of April he was admitted to the Fargo Military Hospital with an ear infection, Otitis Media, possibly a remnant of his earlier flu. His condition didn’t improve, on the 26th he was noted as seriously ill and in the early hours of the 27th he died. The diagnosis was “Pyaemia”, a widespread inflammation which was almost always fatal before the invention of modern antibiotics.
On the 30th April, John was buried in Durrington Cemetery by the local undertaker, Mr Bishop.


Disease was an ever present problem. The Australians buried in the Durrington Cemetery from January to April 1917 numbered 87. They all came from Fargo Military Hospital and they died of the following:
Pneumonia 26
Broncho-pneumonia 25
Bronchitis (Acute, 2) 15
Bronchitis and Complications 5
Influenza 3
Tubercle of the lung 2
Otitis Media and Complications 2
Tuberculosis of the lung 1
Appendicitis 1
Brain Concussion (struck by car) 1
Duodenal Ulcer 1
Fractured skull (Bomb, training accident) 1
Heart Failure, Cerebral Haemorage, Brights Disease 1
Lobar Pneumonia 1
Polyneuritis 1
Suicide 1
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Mark said...

John is my cousin once removed, my family line were Greer's (his mother's side) who lived on Arden Vale rd. His uncle Patrick Greer also enlisted at Quorn (but doesn't seem to appear in your list), he was in the 3rd light horse, his miltary # was 2635, discharged 8 Mar 1917 and returned to Quorn (he married Annie Watson & had two girls as far as I know)

Mark said...

Hi Stephen, nice bit on the Quorn soldiers. John Hawes was my cousin once removed (his mother was a Greer from Arden Vale Rd), I'm related through one of his mother's sisters - May Greer. His Uncle, Patrick Cecil Greer (mil # 2635)also enlisted at Quorn but wasn't on your list of soldiers, he was discharged in 1917 and returned to Quorn. looks like he worked at the Quorn Loco workshop as his name was on their honour roll and there was an article in the Advertiser about his reception on his return to Quorn in 1917.


stephen said...

we are probably distantly related. My Grandmother was John's youngest sister.
I haven't looked at researching all the soldiers from Quorn, there are far too many. About 160 or so that I have uncovered. Most, like Patrick Greer, came back, but a surprising (to us) number did not. I am limiting my research to the 40 soldiers who are named on the memorial at Quorn, however, I have turned up quite a bit of information about others from Quorn and even Peterbough as a side effect of researching the 40.
I have had a bit of a hiatus in blogging over the last 12 months, I will try to start up again soon.