The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2724) Private Charles Edward Street, 45th Battalion, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.291
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 17 October 2020
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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (2724) Private Charles Edward Street, 45th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

2724 Private Charles Edward Street, 45th Battalion
KIA 30 September 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Charles Edward Street.

Charles Street was born on 31 January 1886, one of ten children born to James and Delia Street of Corrimal, New South Wales. Charles was educated at the Fairy Meadow school. In 1913 his older brother James sold his green grocery in Corrimal and moved to Yanco, near Leeton in the Riverina district. Joined by Charles and a number of his other brothers, they began irrigation farming.

Charles and his youngest brother Ted enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force together in June 1916. Given consecutive service numbers, the brothers began training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas in October 1916 on board the troopship Ceramic. They arrived on Salisbury Plain to continue training in November 1916 before joining the 33rd Battalion on the Western Front.

Although the brothers clearly intended to stay together, they had quite different careers. Ted was sent to France first, arriving in January 1917. Charles was delayed by sickness and did not reach their battalion until the following March. Three months after Charles arrived, Ted was badly wounded by a shell and taken to hospital in England to recover.

Charles remained in the field with the 33rd Battalion, and took part in the battle of Messines on 7 June 1917. The battalion held the ground captured during the battle for several days afterwards and was subjected to intense artillery bombardment. A member of the 33rd later wrote that holding the line at Messines was far worse than taking it. Nevertheless, Charles came through the experience unscathed.

Nearly two months later, Charles Street fell ill and over the next weeks spent some time in hospital. He rejoined his battalion on 4 September 1917.

On 30 September the 33rd Battalion relieved three British battalions in the front line near the Belgian town of Ypres. The line had been heavily shelled, and with the trench system completely destroyed, the battalion was obliged to form a rough line by linking shell holes. This was a relatively routine assignment for the battalion, which did not make an attack.

Two casualties were reported during the relief. One of those was Private Charles Edward Street. Little is known of the manner of his death. If he was buried, his grave was lost in later fighting. Today he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, among the names of nearly 55,000 servicemen of the British Empire with no known grave. He was 31 years old.

Ted Street came home in 1919 after being wounded a second time and spending several months in hospital sick. He later founded the Streets ice-cream company.
Charles Street’s 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 Charles Edward Street, 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 (2724) Private Charles Edward Street, 45th Battalion, First World War. (video)