The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4523) Private Ray James Calliss Flower, 32nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.101
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 11 April 2019
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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (4523) Private Ray James Calliss Flower, 32nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

4523 Private Ray James Calliss Flower, 32nd Battalion, AIF
DOW 6 July 1918

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Ray James Calliss Flower.

Ray Flower was born on 30 November 1891 in Yongala, South Australia, the oldest son of James and Emily Flower. His father had a property at Stony Gap, near Burra, for many years, but later took over another property at Braefoot in the same area, calling it “Flowerville”.

The family moved there in 1907 and Ray was educated at Yongala School, and went on to work the farm with his father. The Flower family took an active part in the Iron Mine Methodist Church, where Ray was treasurer and a teacher in the Sunday School. He was also a member of the Christian Endeavour Society and the church mission band. He took a keen interest in the welfare of the district, and was a member of the Leighton Rifle Club, the Agricultural Bureau, and the Burra Orchestra.

Ray Flower enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in October 1916. After a period of training in Australia he left for active service overseas with reinforcements to the 32nd Battalion. Flower continued training in England for several months, before being sent to the battlefields of the Western Front in August 1917.

The following month the 32nd Battalion played a part in the battle of Polygon Wood, during which time Flower was serving the battalion as a bomber. He was later attached to battalion staff headquarters, where he served as a despatch runner. Captain Kinks of the 32nd Battalion later wrote of being “able to judge and appreciate his fine qualities and cheery disposition”.

In early July 1918 the 32nd Battalion was in France in immediate reserve. While days were spent bathing in the river Ancre or playing cricket, the men of the battalion also formed working parties to the engineers and tunnellers in the front line, and undertook reconnaissance sorties to record routes forward.
On 6 July, while probably engaged in one of these activities, Private Ray Flower was hit by a fragment of shell in the right knee. He collapsed and was taken to a nearby casualty clearing station, where he died peacefully of blood loss.

Captain Kinks wrote, “I am proud of the lad … who has amply proved himself to be a soldier and a brave man … The staff is poorer by his going. His duty was always nobly and bravely done.”

Today Ray Flower is buried in Vignacourt British Cemetery under the words “in memory of the dearly loved son of J & E Flower of Burra”. He was 26 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 Ray James Calliss Flower, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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