The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (200) Lance Corporal Harold Reeve Beechey, 48 Battalion, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/003.01
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 3 January 2014
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 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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (200) Lance Corporal Harold Reeve Beechey, 48 Battalion, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

200 Lance Corporal Harold Reeve Beechey, 48th Battalion, AIF
KIA 11 April, 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 3 January 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Harold Reeve Beechey.

Born on 22 March 1891 at Friesthorpe in Lincolnshire, England, to Reverend Prince William Thomas and Amy Beechey, Harold was the ninth of 14 children, eight of whom were boys. He was educated at De Aston School before immigrating in 1910 with his brother Christopher to Western Australia, where they took up farming.

At the outbreak of the First World War, Harold enlisted into the 16th Battalion at Helena Vale and underwent training at the Blackboy Hill camp before embarking for service abroad. After training in Egypt, the battalion moved to Lemnos in preparation for the Gallipoli campaign.

The 16th Battalion landed on Gallipoli during the afternoon of 25 April 1915, and only days later was involved in the attack on Bloody Angle, suffering heavy casualties. Beechey was unhurt, but by May was suffering from dysentery. Following a period of treatment in Egypt he returned to Gallipoli but was again troubled by the illness. He was evacuated to England in September for further treatment and rest.

On returning to Egypt in April 1916 Beechey was transferred to the 48th Battalion as part of the AIF's expansion to five divisions. Arriving in France, he took part in the battalion's first major battle at Pozières. He was wounded by shrapnel in the left arm and chest, for which he was evacuated once more to England for surgery and recuperation. After returning to the 48th in November, he was promoted to lance corporal in January 1917.

During the night of 10 April 1917, during the final preparations for the attack on Bullecourt, Beechey and several other members of the battalion were hit by German artillery fire while preparing a new dugout. One shell landed in the vicinity of Beechey and the other men, killing Major Benjamin Leane instantly and mortally wounding Beechey, who did not regain consciousness and died several hours later.

The Beechey family sacrificed much during the First World War. All eight boys enlisted, with six serving in various British Army units and two with the AIF. Five of the brothers were killed during the course of the war and Christopher was so badly wounded that he was virtually crippled.

Harold Beechey's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with around 60,000 others from the First World War. There is no photograph in the collection to display 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 Lance Corporal Harold Reeve Beechey, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (200) Lance Corporal Harold Reeve Beechey, 48 Battalion, First World War (video)