Clarence William Haynes

Private Clarence Haynes

56th Battalion, AIF

Service Number: 3743

Born: 1898, Penrith, NSW

Died: 30 September 1918, Bellicourt, France

Clarence (Clarrie) William Haynes was born in Penrith in 1898, the son of James (Walter) and Stella (nee Dunstan) Haynes. When he was just two years old his father died, leaving his wife to raise Clarence and their unborn daughter. Walter, the son of Alderman Edward Haynes, had been working as a warehouseman in Kent Street Sydney. His workmate fell ill, followed by Haynes. They died at the Sydney Quarantine Station of bubonic plague. The family were living in North Street Penrith at the time. Afterwards, Stella worked as a housekeeper and in 1916 was working for Magrath at Emu Hall. Young Clarrie, who lived most of his young life with his grandparents, Edward and Margaret Haynes, completed his schooling at Penrith Superior Public School. Some time in his childhood, he suffered from an autoimmune disease known as St Vitus’s Dance, that left him with uncontrolled blinking and movements of the face. Before his enlistment, Haynes worked as a coach driver for funeral director, Nelson Price.  He also had four years cadet, and 12 months militia experience before he enlisted.

Haynes enlisted on 10 August 1917. His mother gave her consent.  He left Sydney on 31 October aboard HMAT Euripides. Haynes’ cousin, Private Jack Shields, also left for the front at the same time. Haynes marched into the 14th Training Battalion at Codford, England on 27 December. On 5 January 1918, Haynes was found guilty of disobedience and sentenced to 2 days field punishment. On 22 February, he was admitted to hospital with bronchitis, rejoining his unit on 8 April. On 6 May, Haynes embarked for the war front and joined his battalion on 10 June. He was again hospitalised in July, rejoining his unit on 19 September. The 56th Battalion had just taken part in the capture of Peronne and on 29 September, took part in the Battle around Mont St Quentin. On 30 September 1918, while in his trench at Bellicourt, Haynes and two other soldiers were killed by a ‘whizz bang shell’. They were buried nearby the following day.

In March 1920, Stella Haynes wrote to the Army querying whether her son may be alive and living in Sydney. A man, stating he was Haynes had telephoned his sister’s former workplace, asking about his mother, and whether she was still living in Penrith. He stated he did not wish to go home ‘as he was terribly knocked about’.  The Army advised ‘it is desired to warn you against building on hopes, which it is feared, cannot be realised’.

Memorial Details:

  • Memorial Panel, Villers-Bretonneux, France
  • Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
  • Honor Roll, Penrith Superior Public School
  • Honor Roll, Penrith Methodist Church