The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1992) Private Richard Thomas Simmons, 34th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU/847.01
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 14 June 2013
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 every 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 Richard Cruise the story for this day was on (1992) Private Richard Thomas Simmons, 34th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

1992 Private Richard Thomas Simmons, 34th Battalion
KIA 12 June 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 14 June 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private Richard Simmons.

Dick Simmons enlisted in February 1916, leaving his job as an orchardist near Upper Colo in New South Wales to join the Australian Imperial Force. When he left, he was presented with a wristwatch by the people of Bathurst as a parting gift.

He left Australia with his cousin, Private George Armstrong, with the 53rd Battalion. On arrival in England in September 1916, however, he was transferred to the 34th Battalion and sent with them to the trenches of the Western Front in France.

The winter of 1916-17 was one of the harshest on record and took its toll on soldiers living out in the trenches holding the line. Simmons would continue to suffer with health problems throughout the war, spending time in hospital for, among other things, septic abrasions, bronchitis and trench fever. However, when not in hospital Simmons served his battalion with distinction. In June 1917 he was singled out for the "conspicuous bravery and gallantry" he showed in his actions in the field.

In early 1918 the Germans launched a big offensive that pushed the allied line back miles. However, the tide soon turned, and from May 1918 the Australians were at the forefront of a number of operations against the German lines. In June Simmons was on scouting duty, assessing the situation and the defences facing his battalion, when he was killed by a sniper's bullet.

An officer of the 34th wrote to Simmons's parents to tell them that their son had:
"conducted himself in such a manner as to earn the respect, praise and admiration of all ranks, by his unfailing cheerfulness and devotion to duty under trying circumstances. His death was a severe blow to the members of the battalion, and we all mourn the loss, not only of a comrade, but of a brave soldier, who worthily upheld the high traditions of the AIF".

Dick Simmons's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with around 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Richard Thomas Simmons, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1992) Private Richard Thomas Simmons, 34th Battalion (Infantry), First World War (video)