The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Second Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Anzac Area (Gallipoli), Lone Pine Area, Lone Pine
Accession Number AWM2016.2.127
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 6 May 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on Second Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

Second Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche, 2nd Battalion, AIF
KIA 6 August 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 6 May 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche.

Everard Digges La Touche was the eldest of two sons born to Major Everard Neal Digges La Touche and his wife Clementine. He was born in County Down, Ireland, on 14 March 1883. Everard junior was an academic boy, and was educated at Bedford Grammar School and Trinity College, Dublin. He was a successful student, winning several academic prizes and medals, and was the youngest man to graduate with a Doctor of Letters from Trinity College.

The Digges La Touche family was descended from French Huguenot Protestants. Everard maintained the family faith, becoming an Anglican minister. He was outspoken and opinionated, and was once described by a Catholic newspaper as “an offensive insect with an offensive sting”. Digges La Touche became Donnellan Lecturer at Trinity, and published many of his lectures, sermons, and theological treatises. In 1909 he married Eva King in Country Kerry, and they went on to have two sons: Everard and Paul.

Digges La Touche’s ill health led the family to immigrate to Australia around 1911. He took up a position at Moore College in Sydney and became a passionate and engaged lecturer, writer, preacher, and mentor. He was described in Australian newspapers as “young, good-looking and highly connected”, and it was noted that “so thrilling were his words, so impassioned was his appeal to Christians to take up the Lord’s service, that the time seemed to listeners all to fly by”.

At the outbreak of the First World War the Reverend Doctor Digges La Touche tried to enlist as a chaplain. He was refused, and so enlisted instead as a private soldier on 27 August 1914. He was posted to the 13th Battalion, but was soon discharged with ill health. He underwent a surgical procedure and re-enlisted later the same year, this time being posted to the 2nd Battalion.

In March 1915 Digges La Touche attended the Officers’ School of Instruction and received his commission as second lieutenant. He then joined his battalion on the Gallipoli peninsula in July 1915.

A few short weeks after his arrival the Anzac forces participated in an attempt to break the stalemate that had persisted since the landing in April. As part of this offensive the 2nd Battalion took part in a diversionary operation at Lone Pine on 6 August. During the attack the Turkish trenches were captured in desperate and bloody hand-to-hand fighting, resulting in over 2,000 Australian casualties.

One of those killed was Second Lieutenant Digges La Touche. On 8 August Dr Talbot, an Australian chaplain, was conducting a burial service for 17 men killed at Lone Pine. Under heavy shell-fire, Talbot was rushing through the preliminaries when he noticed one of the dead was Everard Digges La Touche. He called him “a born fighter”, adding:

"When the war broke out, his patriotism simply possessed him [and] he laid aside the pen for the sword … You and I and many others feel that we have lost a fine and inspiring friend, but his death was the death of a hero, and we thank our God for that."

Everard Digges La Touche’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Everard Digges-La Touche, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Second Lieutenant Everard Digges La Touche, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)