Owen Centennius Hawkes

Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
St. Peters, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
 —  Australian Machine Gun Corps, 13th Coy.  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Lijssenthoek, Remy Siding, No. 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station, Belgium
Cause of death:
Died of wounds (D.O.W.)


Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery
Plot: XXV
Row: D
Grave: 14A

Distinctions and medals 3

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Corporal Owen Centennius Hawkes served in the Australian Machine Gun Corps, 13th Company, part of the (Australian) 13th Brigade, of the (Australian) 4th Division.
On 26 September 1917, the 13th Australian Infantry Brigade had to attack the Blue Line, which was roughly situated between the hamlet of Molenaarelsthoek and Brick Kiln Yard. The 13th Australian Machine Gun Corps was to provide a creeping barrage during this attack, with eight guns in close support of the attacking battalions.
On the night of 23 and 24 September, these eight guns were placed into position. They took over the defensive positions held by the 5th Machine Gun Corps. Four guns were placed in the front line, two in the support line and another two in the reserve line.
In the evening of 24 September, at 7 pm, one of the guns in the frontline was put out of action by German shellfire. It was immediately returned for repair and replaced by a gun from the reserve line.
On the 26th, the day of the attack, all guns managed to get to their objective and were in action while the infantry was consolidating. Fresh supplies were brought up just before dusk when the Germans were seen massing for a counter-attack. However, artillery and machine gun fire prevented the counter-attack from developing. In the afternoon, at 2.30 pm, a gun on the right flank was put out of action and had to be returned for repairs.
The day after the attack, on the 27th, Germans were again seen massing for a counter-attack but it never developed.
Corporal Owen Centennius Hawkes died of his wounds on the 27th of September 1917. His service record mentions that he died of a gunshot wound in his abdomen while being treated at the 3rd Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. This suggests that he was wounded while supporting the attack on the 26th of September. He was evacuated to the Casualty Clearing Station at the hamlet of Lijsenthoek where he succumbed to his injuries. He is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

Files 1

Sources 6

AIF Project
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Australian War Memorial
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National Archives of Australia
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The Long Long Trail
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War Diary Australian Machine Gun Corps, 13th Coy.
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