The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2437) Private Roy Holly Larwood, 50th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/052.01
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 23 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 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 Berelle, the story for this day was on (2437) Private Roy Holly Larwood, 50th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

2437 Private Roy Holly Larwood, 50th Battalion
KIA 23 February 1917
Photograph: P09291.045

Story delivered 23 September 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private Roy Holly Larwood.

Roy Larwood, always known as "Jack" to his friends and family, was born near the town of Yacka in South Australia. He was educated at the Yacka public school and became a school teacher, working in various postings on the Eyre Peninsula and Waikerie. He was teaching in the remote town of Dawson in the Flinders Ranges when he enlisted. He travelled the short distance to Petersburg, now Peterborough, in April 1916 to reach the enlistment office there.

After a period of training in Australia, Larwood left for England in September 1916 with reinforcements to the 27th Battalion. In England he was transferred to the 50th Battalion, and sent to join them on the Western Front.

He arrived in France in early 1917. At that time the 50th Battalion was being rotated in and out of the front line to defend it in one of the harshest winters seen on the Somme for some time. In many respects that winter "was a case of live and let live", both sides trying to survive the extreme cold. However, the front was still a dangerous place, with active sniping and ongoing artillery fire.

Larwood was on the Lewis gun team of B Company. On the 23rd of February, the afternoon before they were to be relieved, he was with the team in a trench in front of the French village of Flers. A German shell came over and landed in the middle of the position, killing Private Jack Larwood and three others instantly. Larwood and his comrades Lance Corporal Pitt and privates Angrave and Halvorsen were buried behind the lines later that night in a single grave.

At home in Australia, flags in Yacka flew at half-mast in memory of Jack Larwood, a highly respected man from their community. This popular teacher was remembered by a wide circle of family and friends.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with around 60,000 others from the First World 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 Private Roy Holly "Jack" Larwood, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.