Service Number: 3854
Enlisted: Not yet discovered
Last Rank: Corporal
Last Unit: 18th Infantry Battalion
Born: Not yet discovered
Home Town: Not yet discovered
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Not yet discovered
Died: Died of wounds, France, 2 September 1918, age not yet discovered
Cemetery: Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, France
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

20 Jan 1916: Involvement Private, SN 3854, 18th Infantry Battalion
20 Jan 1916: Embarked Private, SN 3854, 18th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Runic, Sydney
2 Sep 1918: Involvement Corporal, SN 3854, 18th Infantry Battalion

Ernest Hawkins life

Ernest Hawkins. From The Silverplated Sawyer, by Dayle Shafer.
Ernest was the eighth child of Caroline and Alfred Hawkins. He was born 23 May 1888 at Uralla. He spent his childhood growing up at St Helena, near Wollun. His father had taken up farming there after working for many years for the Taylor Family at Terrible Vale. Around 1909 the family had moved from Wollun to Armidale to live, where Ernest worked as a labourer.
A year after the commencement of World War I, Ernest enlisted in the army at Armidale on 28 September 1915. He was attached to the 18th Battalion. His younger brother, Arthur, was attached to the same battalion, having enlisted eight days earlier.
Ernest embarked at Sydney on 20 January 1916 aboard HMAS Runic. He arrived in Alexandria in Egypt on 26 February 1916. A month later, he joined the British Expeditionary Forces which left Egypt and sailed to Marseilles, arriving on 5 April 1916. He and the 18th Battalion went from Marseilles to Etaples, arriving on 3 June. They took part in their first major battle at Pozieres between 25 July and 5 August 1916. It was during the fighting that Ernest was wounded.
On 1 August 1916, Ernest was shot in the chest. He was subsequently sent to England for treatment. By the end of September, he had recovered sufficiently to be sent back to France. However, he suffered further complications due to his wounds and spent many more months in hospital in France.
Finally, in August 1917, Ernest was fit enough to re-join his battalion. After six months of fighting in France, he enjoyed two weeks leave in the UK.
On 18 February 1918, Ernest received a promotion from Private to Lance Corporal on 25 April 1918. He didn’t have to wait long before he was given a further promotion. On 1 June, he was promoted to Corporal.
In August 1918, Ernest, as a member of the 18th Battalion, would have been involved in two major battles. The Battle of Amiens, from 8 to 11 August and the attack on Mont St Quentin from 31 August to 3 September. The battle of Amiens was a crucial breakthrough for the allied forces. It saw them advance some twelve kilometres on the first day. The attack on Mont St Quentin was also a successful operation. Mont St Quentin overlooks the Somme River and the town of Pronne. It was a key area in the German defence of the Somme Line.
On the night of 31 August 1918, the 2nd Australian Division (which included Ernest’s battalion) crossed the Somme River and attacked Mont Quentin by 5am. By 7am the Australians had successfully gained control of the village, the slopes and the summit of the hill. It was during this battle that Ernest was again wounded. Sadly, he died from his wounds two days later on 2 September 1918.
Ernest was buried at the Daours Communal Cemetery Extension by Rev F P Thurlow. This cemetery is located in the Somme area, approximately ten kilometres east of Amiens and is North West of Villers Bretonneux.

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