The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2721) Private Robert Henry Tibbs, 2nd Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU/883.01
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 25 July 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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (2721) Private Robert Henry Tibbs, 2nd Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

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Speech transcript

2721 Private Robert Henry Tibbs, 2nd Battalion
KIA 25 July 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 25 July 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private Robert Henry Tibbs.

Bob Tibbs was born in Blayney, New South Wales, and left his job as a grocer to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915, aged 29. Tibbs was sent to Egypt with reinforcements to the 2nd Battalion. On the sea voyage he became close friends with three other recruits. The "circle of four" was broken when they arrived in Egypt and two of them, privates McCurley and Portus, were transferred to a new brigade as a part of the reorganisation of the AIF.

Tibbs remained with the 2nd Battalion and participated in their first major operation on the Western Front, the attack on the French village of Pozières. The 2nd Battalion was particularly successful in this assault, taking the German strong post known as "Gibraltar" on the outskirts of the village, and advancing the line considerably. Unfortunately, their long advance also stretched their supply lines. Getting food, ammunition and water to the forward lines was an incredibly dangerous task under the consistently heavy shell fire. The men in the front lines soon felt the want of food, and especially of water.

Two days after the attack on Pozières, Tibbs left the line with two other men to try to find some water. The trio had to cross roughly two miles of open ground exposed to fire. They were on their way back with the precious water when Tibbs was hit by a shell, and died minutes later. One of his companions on that fraught journey wrote to Bob's parents to say, "It will be a great consolation to you to know that he gave his life for his country in an effort to allay the suffering of his mates from thirst, well knowing the big risk he was taking." He was deeply saddened by the loss of Tibbs, saying, "when the company lost him they lost the finest man they had".

Private Portus, one of the "circle of four" from the sea journey to Egypt, also wrote to Bob Tibbs's parents. He said:
None knew better than I what a valiant and manly soul he was & I learned many a lesson from him in patience and endurance, and I shall revere his memory as that of a brave and simple soul who gave all he could for his ideal.

Robert Tibbs was just 30 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour to my right, along with more than 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 Robert Henry Tibbs, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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