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HAWKES, Tom Bailey (1898-1948)

HAWKES, Tom Bailey (1898-1948)

Tom B Hawkes (Prefect 1916).

Tom B Hawkes (Prefect 1916).

Tom Hawkes was an outstanding athlete while at the College. He played with the 1st Football XVIII for four years from 1914 to 1917 becoming its Captain in 1917. He was a member of the 1st Cricket XI for three years from 1915 to 1917 and he rowed with the 1st XVIII for three years from 1915 to 1917 becoming Boat Captain in 1916 and 1917. He was in the Athletics Team in 1915 and 1916 and Head Prefect in 1916 and 1917.

Not long after leaving school he enlisted, on 1 March 1918. 'Attached to General Service Reinforcements to 14 Battalion, he embarked on HMAS Barambah in August, 1918, surviving during the voyage a submarine attack and an influenza outbreak that killed twenty-three of his colleagues. His ship docked at Tilbury the day the Armistice was declared. He returned to Australia, disembarking on 8 September 1919.'

'In World War Two Tom Bailey Hawkes again enlisted (No. VX40783) becoming a Sergeant in the 2/3rd, Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment. He was captured in the desert between Benghazi and Tobruk, officially being reported 'prisoner-of-war' on 2 July 1941. After his release in 1945 he reported the happenings of that day':
‘Became separated from Lt Guest on retreat back to Tobruk during the night of 6th. On morning of 7th saw Mr Stirling, our other troop officer, who advised me Mr Guest was behind enemy convoy and had better wait for him. Mr Guest actually caught up with us and shortly afterwards (we were) surrounded by German armoured cars and tanks.’

'Hawkes was firstly imprisoned by the Italians for approximately three months, then moved to Stalag XVIII in Austria. He described conditions in an Italian prisoner-of-war camp in a letter published in 'The Pegasus' of December 1941':
'It reminds me of Coburg here, only naturally Coburg is in Australia, I'd sooner be there. Got a very good issue of clothes from the Italians; they're certainly treating us very well. A Red Cross parcel each this week, we get fifty cigarettes with them also, which is all important; the Red Cross is a marvellous organisation, stands on its own. English mail has been arriving for the Tommies fairly frequently for some time and it makes me very homesick - still I expect my time will come soon. The Pope is broadcasting a message to Australia from each one of us; one of the Aussies here got a cable from his mother after the last one ... I've great plans for all the things I'm going to do when I get back. Am still fit and well and there is no need to worry at all. Hope you remember to tell me about the Boat Race.'

While being held there he suffered Meniere's Disease which the German doctors were able to treat successful. He was a prisoner-of-war for approximately four and a half years, until his release on 28 August, 1945 from Markt Pongau (St Johann). Tom Hawkes died after the war on 12 April 1948 at Petersham in New South Wales.

Pegasus in 1948 published the following: 'Tom Bailey Hawkes died at a private hospital in Sydney on April 12 after his return from America, where he had been in hospital. He was managing director of Hawkes Bros Pty Ltd. He was widely interested in sport and was President of the Geelong Racing Club. His record at Geelong College from 1909 to 1917 was an outstanding one, including the Senior Prefectship in his last two years, membership of all four senior teams and captaincy of football and of the boats. He was a member of the AIF, in both world wars and was captured during the North African campaign in 1941 and held as a prisoner of war for four years. His son Tom V Hawkes (1941), served with the RAN in the recent war (World War II).'

Tom Hawkes' brother, Jack Bailey Hawkes (1899-1990) was also educated at the College, as was Tom's son, Tom Vincent Hawkes (1923-2001).

Sources: Pegasus June 1948 p45; Affleck, James Geelong Collegians at the Great War Excerpt from p208-209; Affleck, James Geelong Collegians at the Second World War Excerpts from pp 270-272.
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