The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (615) Private Jack Exelby Kohring, 27 Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/131.01
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 17 November 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 each 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 (615) Private Jack Exelby Kohring, 27 Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

615 Private Jack Exelby Kohring, 27th Battalion
KIA 5 November 1916
No photograph in collection (image used from Adelaide Chronicle, 6 January 1917, p.44)

Story delivered 17 November 2013

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Jack Exelby Kohring.

Jack Kohring was born in Wallaroo in 1896 to John and Sarah Kohring. His mother died when he was eight years old. When he was 11, his father married Selma Olafsen from Angaston, South Australia. When Jack was 15 his father was killed in an accident at the Broken Hill Proprietary coal mine, and his step-mother became his legal guardian. As a result of all of this turmoil, Jack's childhood was spent in a number of different places; Angaston and Adelaide in South Australia, and Broken Hill in New South Wales. On the outbreak of war he was in Orroroo, working as a grocer for Mr J.C. Hagger. He was just 18 years old when he enlisted, with his stepmother's permission, in the Australian Imperial Force.

Kohring was posted to the newly created 27th Battalion and was with them when they landed at Gallipoli in September 1915. All of the major offensive actions were over by then, however, and the battalion played a largely defensive role until the evacuation at the end of that year.

In 1916 the battalion was transferred to the Western Front. Their first major battle came at Pozières in late July. On 28 July they were part of an attack against the OG Lines, a strong German defensive line that bordered the village. This attack failed because the German barbed wire had not been cut by artillery fire, and the battalion suffered heavy casualties. A week later the battalion was more successful, capturing two lines of trenches and the strong point at the windmill. While the 27th Battalion suffered heavy casualties during these operations, Private Kohring survived.

On 5 November 1916, after a period out of the trenches, the 27th Battalion returned to attack a German position called Bayonet Trench, north of Flers. The battalion entered part of the trench and held it for an hour and a half but, under heavy pressure from the Germans and with no reinforcements coming, they were eventually forced to withdraw. This action cost the 27th Battalion nearly 300 casualties, at least 77 of whom were killed in action. One of those killed was Jack Kohring. The exact manner of his death is unknown, and his final resting place was lost in the confusion of the battlefield. Jack Kohring had been in the army just a few weeks short of a year. He was 19 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. 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 Jack Exelby Kohring, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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