Digital copy of photograph of World War I veteran Bernard Haines in a wheeled bed, with a bulldog on his lap and four young women beside his bed.

Bernard Haines was only 16 when he enlisted in 1916 - service no. 2916. He used the name Charles (Charlie) Haines and supplied the false age of 18 to be accepted.

He served in the 29th Battalion and was terribly wounded at Montauban on 21 February 1917. His leg was amputated in the field to save his life, and further amputated at an English hospital. Bernard was sent back to Australia in late 1917, still a teenager. He applied for support to open a kiosk, but was unable to pursue it. He used the crutches while he was still partially mobile.

Unfortunately Bernard had a severe fall, probably due to his limblessness, which damaged his internal organs (possibly already damaged in the war). He spent the rest of his short life in Caufield Military Hospital, where he was known as 'baby Haines' due to his size and youth. He made skilled wood carvings and leather works, preserved by his family to this day. Forty operations failed to improve his condition, and Bernard's cheerful personality gradually gave way to anger and distress. He is depicted in his hospital bed receiving visitors in several photographs, looking cranky. He died in 1926, after an operation to remove part of his colon. He is buried in Brighton Cemetery. The donor is his great-niece.

More Information