The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Major George Albert Eddy, First Australian Regiment Vic, Boer War

Accession Number PAFU/871.01
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 11 July 2013
Access Open
Conflict South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
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 Craig Blanch the story for this day was on Major George Albert Eddy, First Australian Regiment Vic, (Boer War).

Speech transcript

Major George Albert Eddy, First Australian Regiment Victoria
KIA 12 February 1900
Photograph: P04321.002

Story delivered 11 July 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Major George Albert Eddy.

George Eddy was a former school teacher turned professional soldier. He was the officer in charge of the Victorian infantry unit sent to fight in the war against the Boers in South Africa in 1899. On arrival, all the Australian colonial units were amalgamated into the Australian Regiment, of which Major Eddy was second in command.

On 12 February 1900 a force consisting of Victorians, South Australians and 100 British soldiers, all under the command of Major Eddy, was holding the line on a small kopje called Pink Hill. A considerable number of Boers mounted a broad-fronted attack against the British here and elsewhere along the line.

The situation on Pink Hill quickly became untenable, but to avoid a rout, the troops could be retired only in small numbers. Eddy remained on the hill to the last, covering and directing the retirement and organising cover. His men later reported that he had been firing so rapidly that he had been able to hold off a force outnumbering his by four or five to one, and that he was instrumental in saving the lives of many. He remained to the end, waiting until all the men near him were ready to get away, and then got to his feet to cover them. As he did so he was shot in the head, and died instantaneously.

Eddy was something of a romantic when it came to war, and just the night before this action he "stood on the very spot where he was to die the next day and & remarked to friends that the position was superb for a last stand." His body was later recovered, and he was the first of five Australians who died on Pink Hill to receive a formal burial.

For his bravery he was Mentioned in Despatches. Towns in Victoria that held some claim to him flew their flags at half-mast in his honour.

George Eddy's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with some 600 others from the Boer War, and his photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

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

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