A century on from the end of World War I we acknowledge their service …
Lest we forget.
Private John Edward Hayes (aka Robert Campbell Pattison)
Born: 24 June 1899 Pakenham. Died: 1 December 1966 Ringwood.
Enlisted: 9 May 1916 aged 17.
Served: Western Front.
John Edward Hayes was the son of Jeremiah and Ellen Hayes of Pakenham. At one stage, the Hayes family lived on Grant’s orchard in the Toomuc Valley. John studied at St Patrick’s Primary School.
Not quite seventeen years old when he enlisted, John used the assumed name of “Robert Campbell Pattison” and claimed to be over 18 years of age and an orphan! It was only in late 1917 that his true identity was established. From his service record, it appears that John was something of a “wild colonial boy”.
On the ship to England, he was punished for refusing to obey a non-commissioned officer. He also went absent without leave several times during his military service.
In July 1918 though, he was wounded in the neck during an attack on the German lines on the Western Front. John had to be evacuated to hospital in England.
He was discharged from the Army in January 1920. Like other Pakenham Diggers, John was awarded a gold medallion by the local community, which his brother Francis received on his behalf.
This is an extract from Patrick Ferry’s book A Century After The Guns Fell Silent – Remembering the Pakenham District’s WWI Diggers 1914-18.
For more details on this and other profiles in the book, head to the website www.pakenhamww1.com