Monday, 13 April 2015

K is for Kanatte General Cemetery in Colombo

Vyvyan Westbury Hughes (1888-1916) was my great grand uncle. He was the son of Edward Walter Hughes (1854 - 1922) and Jeanie Hughes née Hawkins (1862-1941). Edward Walter Hughes was the manager of the Bank of Victoria in Beaufort, Victoria. Vyvyan had an older sister, my great grandmother Beatrix Champion de Crespigny née Hughes (1884-1943), and two brothers, Reginald Hawkins Hughes (1886-1971) and Cedric Stuart Castlereagh Hughes (1893-1953).

Vyvyan was born at Beaufort. He was educated at home by a tutor and later went to business college. He had left home at the age of 16 in about 1905. In 1916 he was working as a clerk for the Bank of Australasia in Adelaide. On 26 January 1916 Vyvyan enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Adelaide. He was 27 years 6 months old, unmarried, 5 feet 6 1/4 inches tall. He had grey eyes and dark brown hair. The only identifying marks were scars from vaccination.

Vyvyan went into camp at Mitcham, South Australia with the 27th Battalion.He was promoted to corporal on 1 April 1916. On 3 April he married Olive Chatfield in Adelaide. She was from New Zealand. After their marriage they briefly visited Beaufort for Vyvyan's final leave

Family Notices. (1916, April 8). The Mail (Adelaide, SA : 1912 - 1954), p. 4. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article59383271




Vyvyan and Olive from a cousin's family photo album
The Riponshire Advocate. (1916, May 6). Riponshire Advocate (Vic. : 1914 - 1918), p. 2. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article119571400

On 11 April 1916, a week after his marriage, Corporal Hughes had embarked on the Aeneas at Adelaide. He disembarked at Colombo suffering from miliary tuberculosis, a diagnosis later revised to measles. On 28 April he died at Colombo hospital, the cause of death being a fractured skull from falling out of the hospital window.
Family Notices. (1916, May 4). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 1. Retrieved  from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2110704
Vyvyan's maternal first cousin Harry Lawson (1875-1952), a member of the Victorian Parliament and in 1916 the Attorney-General and Minister for Public Instruction, wrote to the Secretary for Defence seeking further information about his cousin's death.
NAA: B2455, HUGHES V W 4658 Page 35

After the First World War Roll of Honour circulars were set to the next of kin of those who had died.

Roll of Honour circular for Vyvyan Westbury Hughes retrieved from http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1068874--112-.pdf

Vyvyan Hughes is buried at Kanatte Cemetery in Colombo, Sri Lanka. His grave fell into disrepair but family members have been advised that it has been repaired by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
The grave stone has been replaced with a more modern grave stone. This photograph is held by a cousin.