The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Sydney Clezy Stockham, 27th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/008.01
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 20 August 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
Description

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 Lieutenant Sydney Clezy Stockham, 27th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

Lieutenant Sydney Clezy Stockham, 27th Battalion
DOW 18 August 1918
Photograph: P03679.002

Story delivered 20 August 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Sydney Clezy Stockham.

Sydney Stockham enlisted in Adelaide in February 1915 and left Australia with the original 27th Battalion. He arrived on Gallipoli in September, where the battalion spent a relatively quiet time. Following the evacuation of Gallipoli, the battalion was sent to France and became involved in much heavier fighting.

In March 1917 Stockham was shot in the thigh, but persisted in his duties until ordered by a doctor to evacuate as wounded. Stockham "tried to talk him down" so he could stay, but he was unsuccessful and reluctantly spent a week in hospital recovering from his wound.

On another occasion he had "a most remarkable escape" when a German artillery shell ricocheted off the wall of his trench and fell across a man on his post. Fortunately, the shell was a dud and nobody was wounded.

In 1918 the newly-promoted Lieutenant Stockham spent seven months as a training officer in England. He returned to France just 24 hours too late to participate in the battle of Amiens, and complained to his sister, "It's enough to drive one barmy to have to sit back here and wait for the word to come through to join up the company & the battalion itself has been having the most glorious scrap of its existence."

The later years of the war saw a new participant on the Western Front - the American Army. The Australian Corps played a role in providing assistance to the inexperienced Americans. A week after returning from his time as a training officer in England, Sydney Stockham was attached to an American regiment to act in an advisory capacity. This would be the last thing he did. On 18 August 1918 Lieutenant Stockham went into an attack with the Americans near the Chipilly Spur and was seriously wounded by a gunshot to the abdomen. He died later that day.

Sydney's friend and fellow soldier Syd Morley wrote, "He was, I think, one of the best loved men in his Battalion, always straightforward and considerate for the welfare of his men." He was sadly missed by them, and by his family in Adelaide who lost both their sons to the war.

His 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 Lieutenant Sydney Clezy Stockham, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Sydney Clezy Stockham, 27th Battalion (Infantry), First World War (video)