The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2214) Lance Corporal David McNamara, 21st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2016.2.244
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 31 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (2214) Lance Corporal David McNamara, 21st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2214 Lance Corporal David McNamara, 21st Battalion, AIF
DOW 7 October 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 31 August 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal David McNamara.

David McNamara was born in 1894 to David and Mary McNamara of Numurkah, Victoria. His father and extended family owned and ran one of the oldest auction businesses in Victoria, auctioning cattle and other stock across the north of the state. David attended Hassett’s Coaching College in Melbourne and went on to train as an auctioneer. He was working as a clerk for his family’s auctioneering business when war broke out in 1914.

McNamara enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. He had previously been turned down for poor eyesight, but with the ever-growing need for manpower in the armed forces, enlistment standards were relaxed, and he passed his second medical examination. He was posted to the 21st Battalion, and after a brief period of training left Melbourne on board the troopship Hororata in September 1915.

Private McNamara reported to his family that he had arrived on Gallipoli just in time to take part in the evacuation. Back in Egypt, the AIF underwent a period of training and reorganisation. However, McNamara fell ill and spent a few weeks in hospital with bronchitis. He was sent to France to fight on the Western Front in March 1916.

The 21st Battalion’s first major action on the Western Front came near the French village of Pozières in August 1916. There Private McNamara was wounded by a gunshot to his abdomen, and was sent to England to recover. His family received a cablegram with the news, which included the remarkable information that the wound was “a slight one”. He remained in hospital for two weeks, and spent several more months on light duties in England.

Private McNamara re-joined his battalion on the Western Front and in early May the battalion fought at Bullecourt. McNamara proved an able soldier, and in August 1917 was promoted to lance corporal.

On 4 October 1917 the 21st Battalion attacked German positions near the Belgian town of Broodseinde. It came under heavy fire from shells and machine-guns but succeeded in capturing its objective. It was during this time that Lance Corporal David McNamara was shot in the neck. He was evacuated from the battlefield, but died of his wounds on 7 October 1917 in a nearby casualty clearing station. He was buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

David McNamara was 23 years old. His 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 Lance Corporal David McNamara, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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