The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (SX6469) Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, 2/43rd Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Place Africa: North Africa, Western Desert, Western Desert (Egypt), El Alamein Area, El Alamein
Accession Number AWM2016.2.223
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 10 August 2016
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (SX6469) Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, 2/43rd Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Speech transcript

SX6469 Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, 2/43rd Battalion, 2nd AIF
KIA 1 November 1942
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 10 August 2016

Today we pay tribute to Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, who was killed on active service during the Second World War.

Born in Port MacDonnell, South Australia, on 22 May 1902, Archibald Badenoch was the son of Ebenezer and Rose Badenoch. Known to everyone as “Archie”, he grew up in the Port MacDonnell area. He was a keen sportsman, and played tennis and cricket. He had a particular passion for horseriding, and with his horse, named “Why Not”, had many competitive races with his friend Jack.

The family ran a butcher store, where Badenoch worked until the age of 23, when he joined the South Australian Police Force. He spent the next eight years stationed at Thebarton Police Barracks in Adelaide. Owing to his horsemanship, Badenoch was one of a small group of four at the barracks who had separate quarters, and the group was known to hop over the back fence and sneak off without permission.

On Anzac Day 1928 Badenoch won the Silver Cup at the Wayville Showgrounds riding the police horse “Trooper”. Today the cup is displayed in Keswick Barracks.

Over the next few years he worked at Mount Gambier, Frances, and Tarcoola, where he was particularly happy as he was close by to his old friend Jack. He also met the love of his life, Margaret, who worked as a nurse at the local hospital.

In June 1940 Badenoch, now 38 years old, answered the call to serve his nation in the Second World War. At this time Britain was facing its greatest peril following the fall of France, and Badenoch was one of more than 100,000 Australian volunteers who flocked to recruiting stations during the winter of 1940.

Badenoch reported for duty at Woodside camp near Adelaide, where he became a member of the 2/43rd Battalion. His leadership skills, gained during his long service in the police force, soon became evident, and he was promoted to corporal, and then to sergeant.

Allocated to a mortar platoon in the Headquarters Company, Badenoch was seen as a father figure to many of the younger members of the battalion. On pre-embarkation leave in December, Badenoch returned to Tarcoola to farewell his many friends, including Margaret and Jack, to whom he left a number of his valuables, including an alarm clock.

At the end of 1940 the battalion boarded the troopship Mauritania and embarked for overseas service. Arriving in the Middle East in February, the 2/43rd Battalion, as part of the 24th Brigade, joined the newly formed 9th Australian Division training in Palestine.

Badenoch served in North Africa at Tobruk during the garrison siege which lasted until the end of 1941. In August he was wounded by shrapnel and evacuated to Alexandria, returning to this unit the following week.

The division later went to Syria and then Lebanon for rest, training, and garrison duties. By July 1942 the war in North Africa had become critical for the British forces. The Germans and Italians had reached El Alamein, and the 9th Division was rushed to the front. The 2/43rd arrived in time for the first battle of El Alamein at Ruin Ridge.

In October at the second battle of El Alamein the 2/43rd was initially held in reserve but joined main attack in the Blockhouse area on the night of 31 October. The next day’s fighting saw the battalion suffer more than 100 casualties. Among them was Badenoch.

Using his initiative and with great courage, Badenoch had moved forward from his mortar platoon’s position to gain a better vantage point from which to direct fire. He was killed when a shell exploded nearby.

Back home in Australia, Badenoch’s friend Jack reported that the old alarm clock fell off the mantle that very night, never to work again.

At age 40, Badenoch was the first police officer from South Australia to be killed in the service of his nation during the Second World War. In his honour, the South Australian Police Force named a motor launch the Archie Badenoch in tribute to all South Australian police officers who served in the war.

Badenoch was buried in the British and Commonwealth War Cemetery at El Amalein. His name is listed here on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant Archibald Montgomery Badenoch, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section
With thanks to Robert Boscence

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