27th September 2016
Our Deputy and Head Boys and Girls remembered John Hawley, and Old Boy of The William Amory who died in action 100 years ago today.
The following information was taken from the Blythe Bridge, Forsbrook and Dilhorne Historical Society
Born: April 1893 in Sandon
Died: 27th September 2016 aged 23 and buried at Caterpillar Valley, NZ memorial, Longueville.
Son of: Robert Edward and Julia Goodwin Perkin
Regiment: Wellington Reg 1st Battalion
“At the outbreak of war the New Zealand Expeditionary Force contained a single infantry brigade which was combined with the unattached Australian 4th Infantry Brigade to form the New Zealand and Australian Division which served at Gallipoli. By the end of 1915, New Zealand’s contingent had expanded such that they could now field a complete division of their own.
In the summer of 1916 the New Zealand Division found themselves serving on the Somme. In May – Aug 1916 they were in the Northern Zone of operations located in the Armentieres Sector Trenches (L’Epinette and Houplines sub-sectors) and as of the 13th Sep-Oct 1916 they took a direct part in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette. It was during this battle that John Hawley lost his life.
An excellent account of the New Zealand Div during WWI can be found online ‘May 1916-1918’ by John H. Grey refer p87 onwards for the action in which John Hawley was engaged. Extract as follows;25 to 28 September 1916:
Improvements in the weather and thus to the ground permitted a resumption of the offensive. The Fourth Army was to complete and extend the operations of the 15th. It is significant that far from achieving a breakthrough and releasing the cavalry towards Bapaume, even some of the original objectives of Day I remained unfulfilled. At zero hour the infantry advanced 25 yards behind the creeping barrage.
In the afternoon, by prior arrangement a company of the reserve battalion, 1st Wellington took over Flers Support and the southern section of Goose Alley. The night 25t1/26rh was relatively quiet and the New Zealand posts on the ridge were converted into a continuous line before dawn 25th September had been a day of success. Two days later Pte Hawley was killed in action“