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:
Bronchitis (Acute, 2) 15
Bronchitis and Complications 5
Tubercle of the lung 2
Otitis Media and Complications 2
Tuberculosis of the lung 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