The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (857) Private George Cupit, 39th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: Belgium, Wallonie, Hainaut, Ploegsteert
Accession Number AWM2016.2.137
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 16 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

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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (857) Private George Cupit, 39th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

857 Private George Cupit, 39th Battalion, AIF
KIA 30 April 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 16 May 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private George Cupit.

George Cupit was born in 1887, one of seven children of George and Hannah Cupit of Deniliquin, New South Wales. His father worked for the municipal council for many years and died in 1911 as one of their oldest employees. George junior was educated at the local public school and went on to become a cook.

George Cupit and his brother Hugh enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force together in February 1916. They originally presented for service in Deniliquin, but George was sent to Melbourne for further examination before being accepted. He passed, and both men were posted to the 39th Battalion.

George and Hugh Cupit underwent a period of training, first in Australia and then in England. There Hugh transferred to the trench mortars, but George remained with the 39th Battalion and was sent to join them in the trenches of the Western Front in late 1916.

Cupit’s service record reveals no crimes or illness, no commendations or praise. He was one of thousands of Australians to serve their country quietly.

On 30 April 1917 the 39th Battalion were in the front lines near the Belgian town of Ploegsteert. At around 4 am the Germans began an intense artillery barrage and launched a raid against part of the Australian line. Men of the 39th Battalion managed to drive off a party of as many as 80 enemy soldiers, but suffered more than 60 casualties from enemy shell-fire, including one officer and 13 Other Ranks killed.

One of those killed was Private George Cupit. His body was later recovered and today he is buried in the Strand Military Cemetery in Ploegsteert. He was 30 years old.

Hugh Cupit was killed in action on 4 October 1917 during the battle of Broodseinde Ridge. His body was never recovered.

Private George Cupit’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 Private George Cupit, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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