Corporal Luke Hughes
45th Battalion, AIF
Service Number: 3339
Born: 1894, Molong, NSW
Died: 7 June 2017, Messines, Belgium
Luke Hughes was born near Molong at Cheeseman’s Creek in 1894 to Luke and Elizabeth Hughes. His parents ran a number of hotels before settling at Hilltop Farm on the York Estate in Penrith. Hughes attended St Joseph’s Catholic School and afterwards worked as a blacksmith and labourer.
Hughes enlisted on 27 July 1915. He was allocated to the 13th Battalion and left Sydney for Egypt on the HMAT Port Lincoln on 13 October 1915. He was stationed at Zeitoun on the outskirts of Cairo. In March 1916 he was transferred to the 45th Battalion. In his letter published in the Nepean Times on 17 June 1916, Hughes wrote that he had spent his time in Cairo visiting the old city and the pyramids, climbing to the top of one of them. He thought the great bazaar ‘a wonderful sight’. He mentioned the wickedness in Cairo, stating it was all true about them and pitied the Australian boys who visited them. While in Egypt he had managed to go to Mass on Sundays. Anzac Day was spent doing water sports in the canal with the generals and the Prince of Wales looking on.
In June, his Battalion proceeded to France disembarking at Marseilles. Hughes was appointed lance corporal in the field in July and in the following March was promoted to corporal. Hughes was killed by a sniper while running towards a shell hole during the Battle for Messines Ridge in Belgium. He lived long enough to say goodbye to his mates. He was buried close to where he died by a group of New Zealand soldiers. Sergeant Lamborn described him during a Red Cross inquiry into his death as a ‘real good soldier and a very decent young fellow. He and Hughes were nearly always together and they were close chums’.
Hughes’s brother George also enlisted and served through the war, at Gallipoli and Palestine. He returned in 1919 and lived the rest of his life in the Penrith and Springwood districts. His name appears alongside his brother on our local memorials.
- Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium
- Honor Roll, Memory Park, Penrith
- Honor Roll, Penrith Superior Public School
- Honor Roll, St Nicholas Catholic Church, Penrith
- National Archives Australia: B2455, HUGHES L
- Australian War Memorial First World War Nominal Roll
- Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour
- Penrith City Library Biography files