|Place||Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Ypres|
|Object type||Last Post film|
Australian War Memorial
|Place made||Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell|
|Date made||12 March 2016|
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
|Copying Provisions||Copy provided for personal non-commercial use|
The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (7076) Private Louis Salamito, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War.
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 Smedley, the story for this day was on (7076) Private Louis Salamito, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War.
7076 Private Louis Salamito, 6th Battalion, AIF
DOW 20 September 1917
No photograph in collection
Story delivered 12 March 2016
Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Louis Henry Salamito, who died while fighting in Belgium during the First World War.
Louis Salamito was born in 1895, the younger of two children of Louis and Alice Salamito of West Ham, Essex, in England. With a French father and English mother, Louis grew up in Tower Hamlet, where he attended Thomas Street School and, after the death of his mother, worked as a cart boy in the borough of Bow. The family immigrated to Australia in 1913, but also spent time in Wellington, New Zealand, where Louis’ sister later settled.
Salamito was registered as an eligible male for compulsory military service in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force Reserve in mid-1916, but in September was working as a labourer in the Melbourne suburb of Kensington when he decided to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. After training at Royal Park, he joined a reinforcement group for the 6th Battalion and embarked for the training camps in England two months later. After further training on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, Louis sailed for France and subsequently joined the 6th Battalion as it rested in camp near Bapaume.
The 6th Battalion spent the following months training behind the line in preparation for a major offensive being planned in Belgium. The intention was to break out of the Ypres Salient and drive the German army away from the Belgian coastline, regaining the high ground to the north beyond the village of Passchendaele. The first step in this offensive involved Australian troops of the 1st and 2nd Divisions attacking along the Menin Road, whereupon they could begin a methodical advance towards Passchendaele.
The battle of Menin Road was fought on 20 September 1917, and was Salamito’s first and last major action on the Western Front. Starting their attack near the position known as Clapham Junction, the men of the 6th Battalion advanced behind what was meant to be a protective barrage of artillery fire. However, the battalion’s war diary mentions the artillery rounds falling short and landing amid the attacking infantrymen.
Salamito was severely wounded in the leg by a shell that landed among his platoon as it advanced on Glencorse Wood. Stretcher-bearers carried him to the 1st Field Ambulance Dressing Station at Clapham Junction, where he died of his wounds before the battle was over.
Aged 22 at the time of his death, Salamito was buried at the Huts Cemetery in nearby Ypres. For many years afterwards, his father and sister published epitaphs in their respective newspaper on the anniversary of his death. In 1920 Salamito’s father wrote: “In the heart of those who loved him, he will live forever.”
The name of Louis Salamito is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from 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 Louis Salamito, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (7076) Private Louis Salamito, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)