The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (636) Private George Cedric Kent, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2016.2.339
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 4 December 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 Joanne Smeadly, the story for this day was on (636) Private George Cedric Kent, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

636 Private George Cedric Kent, 9th Battalion, AIF
DOW 22 April 1916
No photograph in collection

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private George Cedric Kent.

George Kent was born in 1896 in Casino, New South Wales. When the First World War broke out, he was working as a labourer. He enlisted in Lismore, New South Wales, on 4 September 1914, aged 19, and joined the newly raised 9th Battalion. His father died just days later.

Kent embarked for overseas service in September aboard the transport ship Omrah. On arriving in Egypt the 9th Battalion assisted in setting up Mena Camp and began training. The men saw much of Cairo and surrounds during leave periods, and in March they sailed with the other units of the 3rd Brigade to Lemnos in preparation for the Gallipoli campaign.

Kent was amongst the first wave of Australians ashore in the early hours of 25 April, and during the day he was wounded and evacuated to Egypt for treatment. The wound proved slight and he was back with the 9th Battalion on 5 May. A fortnight later he took part in the defence of the Australian line when an Ottoman counter–attack was bloodily repulsed.

In early September Kent was hospitalised with influenza and was transferred to Egypt. He later contracted a skin complaint and was again hospitalised, which ended his Gallipoli campaign. In March he re-joined his battalion in Egypt and sailed for France.

By 19 April the 9th Battalion was in reserve billets near Rouge-de-Bout, one mile behind the front line in the Armentières or “nursery” sector. Intermittent artillery fire was landing nearby.

Early in the afternoon of 20 April tragedy struck when the battalion’s C Company billets were heavily shelled. One shell landed outside a canvas tent, wounding four soldiers. As men went to assist, another shell landed amongst them, killing several and wounding others. A further shell hit a brick wall of a nearby billet causing a further 47 casualties. C Company was decimated, suffering 25 men killed and a further 50 wounded.

Several men died from their wounds over the ensuing days, including George Kent. He was taken to the 1st Australian Field Ambulance, but his wound proved too severe, and he died on 22 April 1916. He was laid to rest the following day in Sailly–Sur–la–Lys Canadian Cemetery. He was 20 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 Private George Cedric Kent, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (636) Private George Cedric Kent, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)