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Page history last edited by Lenore Frost 2 years, 3 months ago

Volunteers of Essendon and Flemington, 1914-1918


Second Lieutenant Ernest Hopkins (right) with his brother, Captain Joseph Hopkins, taken while on

leave in England in 1916.  Courtesy of Brad Hopkins.



Hopkins E J     Pte    448    Ernest James             7 Inf Bn    21    Clerk    Single    C of E       

Address:    Moonee Ponds, Lorne St, 51, "Kia Ora"  

Next of Kin:    Hopkins, M E, Mrs, "Kia Ora", 51 Lorne St, Moonee Ponds   

Enlisted:    15 Aug 1914       

Embarked:     A20 Hororata 19 Oct 1914

Prior Service:  RAN, possibly as his compulsory cadet training, 2 years. Also Lieutenant Senior Cadets, 58 Bn


Relatives on Active Service:

Hopkins-J-W-Pte-9  brother


"This is a Photo taken in the Desert my Company having dinner in a partly finished trench you can just see my face near the cross".   The company have no patches on their sleeves, so this is presumably the training period in Egypt prior to embarkation for Gallipoli. Courtesy of Brad Hopkins.


"This is another photo of the trench you can see me with my hand up to my head and hat on my knee.  Ern". 

Courtesy of Brad Hopkins.


"Clarke's Gully our last bivouac on the peninsular.  Note troops moving up hill.  1 Lt Hewitt.  2 Ern. 

Taken at  Q M store".  Courtesy of Brad Hopkins.



Hopkins attained the rank of 2nd Lieutenant by 1916, but outstayed his leave in England by several weeks, and was given a General Court Martial in June 1917 using amnesia as a defence.  The officers of the Court Martial did not accept his version, and Hopkins was cashiered.  He forfeited all his medals.   At the Court Martial Captain J F Bowtell Harris spoke to the court on his behalf.



One Thousand Days with the AIF


Essendon Gazette 8 July 1915


A few extracts from an interesting letter by Lance-Corporal E. J. Hopkins, are as follows:- _
Imtarfa Hospital.
Malta, 20th May, 1915.

No doubt you have been anxious about not having received a  letter for some time, but we have been engaged in something a wee bit more important  than letter writing — fighting Turks. On 24th April we proceeded to Lemnos lsland, and left the next morning for Gallipoli Peninsula.  We disembarked. Our boat was the [first?] to leave the ship and our company the first to land. I was rowing stroke, and we had about three-quarters of a mile to go. After we had gone about half-way, the firing commenced; but we  did not retaliate. The fire was deadly, and my pals were being hit all round me. My work was cut out, rowing with our packs on and the wounded and dead in our way. Our numbers were sadly depleted when we landed. A pal was shot a few yards away, and then I think I saw I could have murdered every Turk miles around. We fixed bayonets and advanced, and Heaven only knows how I avoided being hit. One bullet went through my cap, and another through my ... tin without hurting me. When we got to the knoll, the enemy had retired.  We occupied two of their trenches, which were in good positions. The remnant of our company was numbered, and out of 150, only 26 were not wounded. The Essendon boys suffered terribly. We were cut off from the main body, and the enemy could have wiped us out. We started to gain the main body about sunset, and were under fire for about two miles; but managed to get  back, and were sent up to the firing line, where the main landing had taken place. The boys had done splendidly - charged up a very steep cliff and had driven the enemy well back. We were in the trenches in the firing line from Sunday night till Wednesday, when we were relieved by some English troops. What a  pleasant surprise when I was told that I had been promoted to lance-corporal. It's the first step, and I hope to go higher  still.


We went  to the south of the Peninsula, and marched inland for about three miles. Our objective was a ridge and hill, very strongly defended.[1] D and B companies of the 7th formed the firing line and soon the bullets and shrapnel yards or more, and started to entrench yards  from the village. The firing line was woefully thin; but reinforcements came. I had just started to dig when I was hit. I looked at my foot and was so surprised to see a small hole; it was as though a ton of bricks had fallen on my foot.  I managed to get back 30 to 40 yards, when a fellow cut off my boot and dressed my wound. It was only a scratch to some of the wounds I saw. I had taken off my pack and put it in front of my head, as the bullets were dropping all round   Three went in my pack, and struck alongside and covered me with [dirt?]. A pal came and carried me back to some vacated trenches, where a lot of wounded were. I was drafted off to Malta, where we are very comfortable in the hospital. I shall never forget the charge. It was terrible, yet  glorious. All you think of is getting at the enemy and killing as many as possible. The French and English troops in the trenches, which we amazed in our mad charge gazed open-mouthed at us. They have christened the Australians the "White Ghurkas," and we have received great praise from everyone. On the first Monday, Major  Hamilton was killed, fighting like a hero. Lieut. Eyan [2] was captured by the Turks, but his men charged  and rescued him; but he was badly hurt. He is in Alexandria Hospital. He got seven bullets.  On the day I was hit Major Wells was wounded in two places.  He was a great soldier, and earned a great name.  Corp. Young was wounded in the arm, and all the officers in B company wounded or  killed.  Major Jackson [3] is injured, and also my platoon commander, Lieut Scanlan,[4] who is very cool under fire.


[1]  Remarks in Hopkins' B2455 indicates that he took part in the charge at Krithia, at Cape Helles.

[2] "Lieut Eyan" is probably a misreading for Lieutenant Herbert T C Layh, who was second in charge of "B Coy", 7th Infantry Bn.

[3]  Major Alfred Jackson, in command of "D Coy" had been an officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion, CMF.

[4]  Lieutenant John Joseph Scanlan of Middle Park.


Mr. J. T. Hopkins, of Lorne street, Moonee Ponds has received word that his sons, E. J. Hopkins and J. W. Hopkins, have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant. The younger son, E. J., gained his commission on 12th March last. He was wounded on 8th May, 1915 in the historic charge at Cape Helles (Krithia). On recovering, he returned to duty at Gallipoli, and remained until the troops evacuated. He went into camp in August, 1914. The elder son, J. W., whose commission dates from 8th August, 1915, has been, promoted to lieutenant in charge of the machine gun section of the old 7th Battalion, from the famous B Coy., with its records of V.S.'s and D.C.M.'s. He has been fortunate in having neither wound nor illness since going into camp on 18th August, 1914. He was present at the landing at Gallipoli, and formed one of the rear guard of its evacuation. In letters received from the boys, appreciation is expressed of the Roll of Honour, which appears above.


WITH THE COLOURS. (1916, June 22). The Essendon Gazette and Keilor, Bulla and Broadmeadows Reporter (Moonee Ponds, Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 5 Edition: Morning.. Retrieved February 1, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article74593277


World War I Diaries of Sergeant Jim Osborn, The  


p 105  Sunday 6 August 1916.  All the NCOs of the Battalion had to attend a lecture on the Lewis gun in the afternoon given by Lt Hopkins.  The guns were mounted opposite Battalion HQ and each of us had to undergo some practice with a gun.  We each had to fire about a pannier into a hill.  It was very interesting and we were at the lecture from 2 pm until 4 pm.


Recommendation for Military Cross

7th Battalion, 2nd Lieutenant Ernest James HOPKINS

At HOLLENBEKE on the night of the 30th September 1916, during a silent raid on the enemy's trench 2nd Lieut E J Hopkins, who was in charge of the Left Trench Party, displayed gallantry and initiative in leading his men and dealing with a MG emplacement.  On four different occasions he personally protected his bayonet men by using his revolver,  He kept his men well in hand during the raid and withdrew them successfully.




Mentioned in this publication:

Khaki Crims and Desperadoes, by Russell Robinson, pp 272 - 283.

St Thomas' Church of England Parish Magazine March 1915 p9;

Parish Magazine April 1915 p2

Article in the Essendon Gazette 24 Oct 1918 about his brother Hopkins-J-W-Pte-9


The Argus, 8 May 1916

Australian Casualties - Returned to Duty

Pte E J Hopkins.



War Service Commemorated

Essendon Town Hall F-L

Ascot Vale State School

Patriotic Concert 1914

St Thomas' Anglican Church

Essendon Gazette Roll of Honour Wounded

Regimental Register Moonee Ponds

“Send off to the Essendon Boys”


p 146 B2455 gives outline of active service. Also 198.

http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/records/491276/2 for RAN service, 1912-1913

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