HAWKES, Samuel Gibbings
(Service number 5861)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Private|
|Date||14 September 1873||Place of Birth||Dunedin|
|Date||5 June 1916||Age||42 years 9 months|
|Address at Enlistment||Dowerin, Western Australia|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||Jean HAWKES (mother), Roslyn, Dunedin|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 4½ inches. Weight 108 lbs. Chest measurement 32-34 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair black. Vaccinated (left).|
|Served with||Australian Imperial Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||27 Infantry Battalion|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||13 to 18 Reinforcements|
|Date||30 October 1916|
|Transport||HMAT Port Melbourne|
|Embarked From||Fremantle, Australia||Destination|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||27th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement of the Westralian Expeditionary Forces|
|Campaigns||Western Front (Passchendaele)|
|Service Medals||British War Medal; Victory Medal|
Award Circumstances and Date
Prisoner of War Information
|Date of Capture|
|Where Captured and by Whom|
|Actions Prior to Capture|
|PoW Serial Number|
Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses
1 November - 26 December 1916 - in troopship Port Melbourne Isolation Hospital - treatment for VD
|Date||7 November 1917||Age||44 years|
|Place of Death||Queen Mary's Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire, England|
|Cause||Died of wounds - gassed (shell gas burns). Cardiac failure|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 21 November 1917; Evening Star, 21 November 1917, Otago Daily Times, 22 November 1917|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Bromley Cemetery, London, United Kingdom; On a memorial stone in Timaru Cemetery (on his mother's plot)|
|Memorial Reference||O. D. 12. . Timaru Cemetery - General Section, Row 30, Plot 384.|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Memorial plaque, St Mary's Church, Timaru|
Samuel Gibbings Hawkes, born on 14 September 1873 in Dunedin, was the third son of Richard Neville Nettles and Jean (née Black) Hawkes who had come to New Zealand from Australia in the late 1860s. Samuel was educated at Arthur Street School in central Dunedin and then the Normal School, Dunedin. In 1886 at Arthur Street Samuel was the recipient of two prizes – for first place in Standard IV Boys and first place in mental arithmetic. These awards were presented by none other than Sir Robert Stout, a Scotsman who championed education in early New Zealand. The following year at the Normal School Samuel received an award for Standard V Class I. Samuel’s father died in 1900 in Dunedin and some years later his mother moved to Timaru where his brother Richard and sister, Mrs A. Washer, were living.
While employed as a clerk in Dunedin, Mr S. G. Hawkes was one of the players who participated in a novel chess match. Mr J. Edwards (ex-champion of New Zealand and Otago) played simultaneously ten matches against ten distinct players. Within one hour and a quarter Mr Edwards had won eight games, drawn one and lost one. Samuel was among the losers. A few weeks later (August 1905) he competed in a series of friendly matches to “determine the best player among habitues of the chess room” at the Dunedin Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute.
By 1913 Samuel and his brother Philip had moved to Western Australia, where Samuel was engaged in teaching. In March 1916 S. G. Hawkes gave £2. 2s. cash towards the Dowerin Queen Carnival movement. The following month he was one of 31 men dealt with by the recruiting officers at the Drill Hall and one of the 22 accepted as fit for service. And so in 1916 Samuel and Philip enlisted with the West Australian Expeditionary Force, Samuel being a State school teacher at Dowerin. Philip, a married man, was fortunate enough to return home but lost his wife in 1919.
Samuel Gibbings Hawkes embarked on 30 October 1916 at Fremantle, with the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force, on the “Port Melbourne”. He was of quite slight build and already 43 years old. Before reaching Devonport he was admitted to the ship’s isolation hospital where he was treated for disease. On 8 February 1917 he proceeded from Folkstone to France.
There was no more news until November 1917 in New Zealand. Private Samuel Gibbings Hawkes died on 7 November 1917 at Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire, England (per Personnel File; death notices report London), of wounds received on active service at Passchendaele. He was wounded on 28 October and embarked on the Hospital ship St Andrew for England on 1 November. A cable was received in Timaru on 20 November, advising his family – mother, sister Mrs A. Washer, and older brother Richard’s family. Notice of his death appeared in the Timaru Herald and the leading Dunedin newspapers. Some other newspapers reported his death with the Australian forces as “Died, Cause not stated”, as did The Daily News of Perth, Western Australia and the Western Argus of Kalgoorlie, in December 1917, in the 362nd list of casualties among West Australian troops on service in the various theatres of war with the A.I.F. He was given a military funeral, with a polished elm coffin draped in the Australian flag, and buried in a private family grave in London Road Cemetery, Bromley, Kent. Present at the funeral were his sister Mrs Holworthy, her husband and her son. An unrelated woman who had an extra flax cross when she was part of the voluntary mission to mark every New Zealand war grave with a native flax cross in 2009, went to nearby London Road Cemetery and placed the cross on the grave of Samuel – a touching link between his birth country and his burial place.
In December 1917 Jean Hawkes, Samuel’s mother wrote to Base Records in New Zealand, seeking particulars of her son’s death. She had received the telegram advising of his death and offering Government House condolences but was anxious to know the cause. Unfortunately that office could not help, but the request was passed to Melbourne. He had, in fact, been gassed and suffered from shell gas and burns, resulting in cardiac failure.
Letters of Administration in the estate of Samuel Gibbons [sic] Hawkes, late of Dowerin, were granted to Philip Hawkes in September 1919, for the value of £115. 4s. 11d. On 19 February 1934 at Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, Philip Hawkes made a Statuary Declararion that both parents of the late No 5861 Private Samuel Gibbings Hawkes were deceased and that he was the eldest surviving brother of the deceased soldier. He duly received the Victory Medal and Memorial plaque and scroll for his brother. At Samuel’s death, his sister, Mrs Holworthy, of Sunnyside Guestling Green near Hastings (England) had been notified by the hospital authorities. Packages of the effects (1 pair sox, money belt, letters, receipts, photos, notebook, leather wallet, 2 brushes in cases, 2 novels, leather toilet set, 3 photos, belt, pipe, brush, tobacco pouch, tooth brush, badges, letter) of Private S. G. Hawkes and the British War Medal were despatched to Mrs Jean Hawkes in July 1918. In 1959 there was correspondence from the Public Trustee, Melbourne, Australia, to Base Records in Canberra, seeking confirmation that Samuel Gibbings Hawkes had died in France about 1918 whilst serving with the A.I.F. This was in connection with the administration of the estate of Jean Margaret Crooke, believed to have been Samuel’s sister.
Samuel Hawkes was an uncle of Richard Neville Hawkes who was killed in action on 12 October 1917. His name is recorded at panel 110 of the Australian War Memorial. He is remembered on his mother’s stone in the Timaru Cemetery, as is his nephew. Jean Hawkes, who died in 1919, lost her son and her grandson in less than a month, as a consequence of the disaster of Passchendaele.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [22 July 2017]; Australian War Memorial - Embarkation Roll; Australian Imperial Force - Attestation Paper (National Archives of Australia) [17 November 2013]; Base Records - Australian Imperial Force (Archives NZ ref. AABK 22525 W5614 B.R. 37/1536) [15 September 2015]; CWGC [17 August 2013]; Australian War Memorial - Roll of Honour; Otago Daily Times, 18 December 1886, 22 & 28 Nov 1917, 20 August 1919, Evening Star, 17 December 1887, 29 June 1905, 21 & 22 November 1917, 20 August 1919, Timaru Herald, 14 August 1900, 21 November 1917 [x 2], Otago Witness, 16 August 1905, 28 November 1917, 20 August 1919, Temuka Leader, 3 November 1917, Evening Post, 24 November 1917, Auckland Star, 26 November 1917, Press, 26 November 1917 (Papers Past) [05 May 2013, 13 November 2013, 14 September 2015; 22 & 24 July 2017]; Timaru Cemetery headstone image (Timaru District Council) [17 August 2013]; School Admission Records (Dunedin Branch NZSG) ; Headstone image London Road Cemetery, Bromley, London, England (Find A Grave) [17 August 2013]; School Admission Record (Dunedin Branch NZSG) ; NZ & Australian Electoral Rolls (ancestry.com.au) [22 July 2017]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [2013; 23 July 2017]; Northern Courier, Western Australia, 21 March 1916, The Daily News, Perth, WA, 27 April 1916, 4 December 1917, Western Argusm Kalgoorlie, WA, 11 December 1917, Sunday Times, Perth, WA, 28 September 1919 (Trove – Australia Newspaper Home) [24 July 2017]
- HAWKES Samuel Gibbings - extracts from attestation file (Australian) (pdf, 1.1 MB updated 23-Aug-2017)
- Great War Stories - Samuel Gibbings HAWKES (pdf, 273.6 KB updated 26-Jan-2018)
Researched and Written by
Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG
Currently Assigned to
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License unless otherwise stated.
Tell us more
Do you have information that could be added to this story? Or related images that you are happy to share? Submit them here!