The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3365) Private John Samuel Bell, 50th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/051.01
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 22 September 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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (3365) Private John Samuel Bell, 50th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

3365 Private John Samuel Bell, 50th Battalion
KIA 26 September 1917
Photograph: P09291.058

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private John Samuel Bell.

John Bell was born and educated in McLaren Vale, South Australia. His elder brother Rod left for the war in March 1916. Although John was considered to have a "peaceable disposition" he felt strongly that his duty lay in going to war, and so in December 1916 he also enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force.

Bell left Australia on 10 February 1917 bound for England. He spent a number of months training near the Wiltshire village of Codford on the Salisbury Plain. He did not arrive in Belgium to fight on the Western Front until early in August 1917.

By 26 September 1917, John Bell was dead. The 50th Battalion were operating near Polygon Wood and were making preparations to attack near the village of Zonnebeke. John Bell was assigned the role of bomber for this operation, but he did not get the chance to participate in this battle.

While still in Australian trenches a shell landed close to him, killing him instantly. Two others were killed at the same time. They were buried that night near the trench they died in.

John was the second son to die in 1917. Earlier that year his brother Rod, also serving with the 50th Battalion, was killed in action, shot by a sniper while on a forward patrol. Both men, highly respected in the McLaren Vale area, were sadly missed.

Private John Samuel Bell's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on your left, along with Private Roderick James Bell's and around 60,000 others from the First World War. John's photograph is displayed by 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 Private John Samuel Bell, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.