The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1953) Private George Gunning, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Anzac Area (Gallipoli), Lone Pine Area, Lone Pine
Accession Number AWM2016.2.219
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 August 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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (1953) Private George Gunning, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1953 Private George Gunning, 2nd Battalion, AIF
KIA 8 August 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 6 August 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private George Gunning.

George was born in 1880 in Hay, New South Wales, to Joseph and Eliza Gunning. His father owned and operated the Bridge Hotel, and was also an early property developer in the area.

Gunning was educated at the Church of England Grammar School, known as Shore, in north Sydney. He was a prefect and also a member of the rowing team. After school he followed his passion for rowing and moved to Victoria to compete in professional races. He had some success, but about two years later he retired from the sport and returned to Sydney. He became an accountant and also a rowing coach – he led a Sydney University team and a seniors’ crew to wins, and was later selected to coach the New South Wales crew at the Interstate Eight-Oared Championships in 1913.

Gunning enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1915, at the age of 34. At the time he was the honorary treasurer of the New South Wales Rowing Association, and vice-captain of the North Shore Club. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, which was part of the 1st Brigade, and embarked for Egypt with a reinforcement group in April on board HMAT Hororata. After a period of training in Egypt, Gunning was sent to the Gallipoli peninsula.

On 6 August the 1st Brigade led the charge at Lone Pine. It was a brutal and bloody battle that pitched Australian forces against formidable entrenched Turkish positions. The main Turkish trench was taken within 20 minutes of the initial charge, but this was the prelude to four
days of intense hand-to-hand fighting, resulting in more than 2,000 casualties.

Private George Gunning was among those killed in action in the battle of Lone Pine. He was initially reported as wounded and missing, and it was not until the end of May 1916 that a court of inquiry determined he had been killed in the battle.

In an article published in the Sydney newspaper Referee in June 1916, the columnist wrote of Gunning:

It seems hard to realise that he has lost his life fighting, because in private life he was one of the most genial men one could meet. He had a smile and a good word for everyone, and was very popular.

Private Gunning’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in 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 Gunning, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Emma Campbell
Researcher, Military History Section

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