Their bodies are buried in peace; but their names liveth for evermore.
Their Duty Done
A tribute to the men and women of the East Gippsland Region who Died as a result of their participation in World War One : 1914 - 1919
316 Private William Edward Riley alias Edwin Hayes – Bruthen Killed in Action 8 May 1915
….. used a false name to enlist at 16 years
William Riley was born on 21 May 1898 which meant that he was just 16 years old when he enlisted on 17 September 1914 with the 6 th  Battalion. Riley was so determined to go that he gave the recruiting officer a false name, calling himself Edwin Hayes, and said that he was a 19 year old clerk who had been born in Sydney and that his mother still resided there. Riley was actually born in Whittlesea and spent some of his childhood in Bruthen and Orbost before his estranged family was split. Being about six foot tall, he was able to bluff his way through training and sailed on the Hororata on 19 October 1914 with other Gippslanders McPhee, Sommerville and Harbeck. He survived the landing in April but was killed in action during the second battle of Krithia at Helles, although this was not determined until mid-September when the family were informed. Confusion continued with the Army for some time before his name and alias were sorted and his parents disputed who had the rights to his medals. He was even reported in the press as being 15½ years old when he died; William Riley had turned sixteen years old and would have turned seventeen thirteen days after his death. He is remembered on the Cape Helles memorial at Gallipoli. We have been unable to locate a photograph of Private William Riley (alias Hayes), if you know of one, please make contact. Our group would appreciate your assistance.