The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1296) Private Reginald Roy Annesley, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Asia: Turkey, Canakkale Province, Gallipoli Peninsula, 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.346
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 December 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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (1296) Private Reginald Roy Annesley, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1296 Private Reginald Roy Annesley, 3rd Battalion, AIF
KIA 19 May 1915

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Reginald Roy Annesley.

Reginald Annesley, known as “Roy”, was born in 1893, the second son of David and Mary Annesley of Katoomba, New South Wales. He was educated at St. Canice’s Roman Catholic School, and went on to work in the district as a drainer and labourer in Newcastle. Known by the nickname “Paddy”, Annesley was a keen sportsman. He was particularly talented as a boxer, winning several tournaments and semi-professional bouts before enlisting. He was described as “a typical Australian, rough and ready; yet with a heart as big as a house.”

Paddy Annesley enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force shortly after the outbreak of war in August 1914, one of the first from the Blue Mountains to do so. He underwent a period of training before leaving with the 3rd Battalion as part of the first contingent. During this time he continued to participate in boxing tournaments with the Australian forces, and won several prizes before leaving for the Dardanelles.

At 6.15 am on 24 April 1915, the men of the 3rd Battalion left the island of Lemnos, bound for Gallipoli. After waiting at anchor for some hours for the first wave to land, the battalion’s vessel took them forward in the early hours of 25 April, with the men landing as part of the second and third waves of the operation. Shortly after landing, the men pressed forward to the second ridge, capturing it from the Ottoman defenders and establishing a line in the face of stiff opposition.

Private Roy Annesley wrote home to say, “We landed under a very heavy fire, and have had a pretty hot time up till a few days ago, when it quietened off. We are through the worst of it now, and everything is going fine.” In fact, he had been so concerned that his mother would worry that he had sent a cablegram within the first week saying, “all’s well; don’t worry.”

Shortly after midnight on 19 May, the Turks launched a large-scale attack at several points along the Australian line. The 3rd Battalion were ready when the attack reached their part of the front at 2.45 am. The battalion’s war diary noted that “the Turks attacked in successive lines, which were close together and came on with great determination.” Although initially hard to make out in the darkness, the enemy soldiers became visible as the sun came up, and the battalion made good headway in repelling their attack. While the Turks suffered extremely heavy losses, the 3rd Battalion lost fewer than 100 men, with 42 of them killed.

One of those killed in action was Private Roy “Paddy” Annesley. When news of his death reached Katoomba, flags were flown at half-mast across the mountains.
Most difficult for the family was the delay in letter delivery. For several weeks after notification of his death, the Annesleys continued to receive letters reassuring them that all was well. The last one read, “We have beaten the Turks back all along the line, and I fancy we will be due for a spell soon. Don’t worry about our fellows; we will be all right and pull through.”

Roy Annesley was buried not far from where he fell. Today he lies in the 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery with more than a hundred other Australians. He was 22 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 Reginald Roy Annesley, 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 (1296) Private Reginald Roy Annesley, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)