The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2026) Private Gordon Everitt Webb, 19th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.164
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 13 June 2018
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 Chris Widenbar, the story for this day was on (2026) Private Gordon Everitt Webb, 19th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2026 Private Gordon Everitt Webb, 19th Battalion, AIF
DOW 29 July 1916
Story delivered 13 June 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Gordon Everitt Webb.

Gordon Webb, known as “Don”, was born in 1897 in Grenfell, New South Wales, to William and Annie Webb. He attended the local public school and went on to work as a labourer in the Grenfell district.

Webb enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in May 1915. He underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas in August 1915 on board the troopship Runic. Private Webb first went to Egypt and from there to Gallipoli, landing on the peninsula on 8 December 1915.

Webb served only a few weeks on Gallipoli with the 19th Battalion before the AIF was evacuated and sent back to Egypt. After three months’ training in the desert, Webb’s battalion was sent to France to fight on the Western Front.

About four months after its arrival, the 19th Battalion was called on to participate in its first major operation on the Western Front near the French village of Pozieres. The village had been captured by the 1st Australian Division just days before Private Webb entered the front line, and was under extremely heavy shell-fire from both sides.

On 29 July 1916 Private Webb’s position was heavily shelled, with many men from the 19th Battalion becoming casualties. Webb’s platoon sergeant recalled that Webb “was cheery and helpful to his pals, doing all he could to bandage any wounded, and was quite cool and collected”. As he worked, an artillery shell landed near his position. Webb’s platoon sergeant “stepped along to Don, who I could see was badly hit in the leg, above the knee, and just above the thigh. I marvel yet at the cool way he took it, and helped me to get his bandage out of his out of his pocket.”

As Webb was carried away by stretcher bearers, his platoon sergeant recalled:
Don then was in no pain, but told me he thought he was finished, but I would not let him speak of it and told him he was all right and that the doctor would fix him up. Some of his friends carried him down, but he died before the doctor could do anything for him. He was brave till the last, and never uttered one complaint, although he was badly wounded.

Private Don Webb was buried in the Sunken Road Cemetery at Contalmaison, where he lies today, under the epitaph “a soldier he lived, and a soldier he died”. He was just 18 years old.
His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 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 Gordon Everitt Webb, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2026) Private Gordon Everitt Webb, 19th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)