HAWKES, Victor Edward
(Service number 6/3733)
|First Rank||Private||Last Rank||Lance Corporal|
|Date||23 February 1892||Place of Birth||Timaru|
|Date||21 October 1915||Age||23 years 8 months|
|Address at Enlistment||C/o Barnet, Chemist, Christchurch|
|Previous Military Experience|
|Next of Kin||J. H. HAWKES (father), Evans Street, Waimataitai, Timaru|
|Religion||Church of England|
|Medical Information||Height 5 feet 3 inches. Weight 125 lbs. Chest measurement 32-36 inches. Complexion dark. Eyes brown. Hair dark brown. Sight - both eyes 6/6. Hearing and colour vision both good. Limbs well formed. Full and perfect movement ofall joints. Chest well formed. Heart and lungs normal. Teeth good. Free from hernia, varicocele, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, inveterate or contagious skin disease. Not vaccinated. Good bodily and mental health. No slight defects. Oblique scar 2 inches long ¼ inch wide, over inner side head (right).|
|Served with||New Zealand Armed Forces||Served in||Army|
|Body on Embarkation||New Zealand Expeditionary Force|
|Unit, Squadron, or Ship||9th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company|
|Date||8 January 1916|
|Embarked From||Wellington||Destination||Suez, Egypt|
|Other Units Served With|
|Last Unit Served With||Canterbury Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion|
|Service Medals||British War; 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
Severely wounded & died of his wounds on his way to the dressing station.
|Date||29 September 1916||Age||24 years|
|Place of Death||Somme, France|
|Cause||Killed in action|
|Notices||Timaru Herald, 11 October 1916|
|Memorial or Cemetery||Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France|
|New Zealand Memorials||On Memorial wall, Timaru; Timaru Boys High School Memorial (Library); St Mary's Anglican Church, Timaru; Waimataitai School Memorial|
Victor Edward Hawkes was the son of James Harry and Annie Eleanor (née Hobbs) Hawkes, of Timaru. Born on 23 February 1892 at Timaru, he was educated at Waimataitai School where, like his surviving brother and sisters, he did well in his studies. In 1899 in just Standard I he received a mention at the school prize-giving. The following year he was awarded an Attendance Prize and a 1st class certificate, to a round of applause. In Standard IV he was 3rd equal in proficiency and again recognised for attendance. 1903 saw Victor in Archdeacon Harper’s class at the Waimataitai Sunday School and the recipient of a Special Prize. In 1904 at school, now in Standard VI, he was awarded a prize for writing. This award came his way again in 1905, along with an Attendance award. From Waimataitai Victor went on to the Timaru High School. There in 1908 he easily won the Sack Race.
By 1906 Victor was making his mark in rowing, winning a prize with the Timaru Rowing Club for the stroke position in the coxwains pairs. Rowing achievement continued to come his way. In 1906 he was the coxswain for the Timaru crew in an interclub race against the Oamaru Rowing Club, a race which Timaru won with a fine sprint at the end.
Victor was also a good swimmer. At the Timaru Rowing Club’s Swimming Carnival at the Century Commemoration Baths, held on 24 January 1907, he finished “an easy first” in the Bun and Treacle, being the first to get a bite. The grotesque expressions of some of the youths participating caused considerable merriment. He participated in the 50 Yards Handicap at the Oamaru Swimming Baths Carnival, in January 1908, and in the 50 Yards and 100 Yards at Timaru in February. In February 1910 at Timaru he was first in one swimming heat, and at Waimate second in the 25 Yards Youths Race and a member of the Timaru Rowing Club’s winning team in the Relay Race. The following year he came second, probably to his brother, in the hundred yards club handicap. In 1909 he had also been a contestant in the South Canterbury Harriers sprint events on Caroline Bay. By mid November 1915 a roll of honour of Canterbury Centre swimmers had been prepared of those who were serving, those who were on their way to the front, and those in camp. This featured V. E. Hawkes of the Ashburton Club.
Just prior to enlisting, Victor was among the large and appreciative audience at an excellent performance given by the Savage Club in the Theatre Royal in aid of the Red Cross Fund, a performance which generated a very good financial result.
At the time of enlisting, 21 October 1915, Victor was employed as a chemist in Christchurch, where he had been for eighteen months. He had passed his pharmacy examinations in October 1910. By 1915 he was a member of the Ashburton amateur Swimming Club. There at the annual meeting in October 1915, he was one of twelve members on active service who were recognised in a motion of appreciation and congratulation.
Victor joined the Ninth Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Battalion, and on 8 January 1916 he left on the “Maunganui” for Egypt. Prior to leaving Christchurch, the men were addressed by the Mayor who said that all greatly appreciated the way in which the men had responded to the call of the Empire. He had every confidence in the men, but he reminded them that “they were going to no picnic. . . . . . They were going to stern reality with the destiny of the Empire in their hands. . . . . they must keep fit and well, both morally and physically.” He wished them God speed, success, and a speedy return. The men marched to the railway station, being cheered by large crowds en route.
In May 1916 and again in July at Rouen he was appointed lance corporal. The next mention was that one no one wanted to hear, when on 10 October 1916 his father was notified that he had died. Another fit and healthy young man with a secure future, lost to the ravages of war.
Mr W. Thomas, M.A., Rector of the Timaru High School, reported in October 1916 that five old boys had given their lives on the field of battle, one of them being Lance-Corporal V. Hawkes. At the Waimataitai School Committee of April 1917, the chairman observed that on the school’s Roll of Honour there were the names of 140 old pupils, and of these 21 had given their lives – including V. Hawkes.
Victor’s father received a letter and expressions of sympathy from Chaplain Malden – “Your gallant son . . . . . was one of those men who did most valuable work with his machine gun in the early days of our advance on the Somme, and greatly helped the initial successes of his company. . . . . later on he was severely wounded while taking up a new position . . . . . and died of his wounds on the way to the dressing station. Apparently the Germans got an observation on what he was doing, and put over a lot of shells at that point.” Victor was officially reported as “killed in action”, aged 24 years.
In 1917 Victor was remembered in an In Memoriam notice – “Non sibi, sed pro patria”. He is honoured on the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France – a Memorial which commemorates 1200 officers and men of the New Zealand Division who died in the Battles of the Somme in 1916 and who have no known grave. He is honoured on the Timaru War Memorial wall; at the Timaru Boys High School Memorial (Library); at St Mary's Anglican Church, Timaru; and on the Waimataitai School memorial plaque.
The medals of 6/8783 Lance Corporal Victor Edward Hawkes were authorized to his father, Mr J. H. Hawkes, NZ Refrigerating Company, Smithfield, Timaru, as were the plaque and scroll. His brother Noel was called up but not required to serve.
Auckland War Memorial Museum Cenotaph Database [17 August 2013]; NZ Defence Force Personnel Records (Archives NZ ref. AABK 18805 W5539 0052251) [15 September 2015]; CWGC [17 August 2013]; Timaru Herald, 22 December 1899, 14 December 1900, 19 December 1902, 15 December 1903, 16 & 25 December 1905, 18 May 1906, 22 November 1906, 25 January 1907, 28 March 1907, 26 February 1908, 24 August 1909, 18 & 25 February 1910, 2 February 1911, 18 September 1915, 11 October 1916 [x 2], 12 & 17 October 1916, 18 December 1916, 1 May 1917, 29 September 1917, North Otago Times, 30 January 1908, Ashburton Guardian, 12 November 1910, 12 October 1916, Press, 1 September 1915, Sun, 18 October 1915, Star, 21 October 1915, 15 November 1915, Otago Daily Times, 12 October 1916 (Papers Past) [17 August 2013; 10 & 13 November 2013; 14 September 2015; 17 March 2016; 17 March 2016]; NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [17 March 2016]
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.
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