The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX137333) Private James Gerald Joseph Doyle, 2/10th Battalion (Infantry), Second World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/022.01
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 January 2014
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Stewart Baines, the story for this day was on (NX137333) Private James Gerald Joseph Doyle, 2/10th Battalion (Infantry), Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

NX104103 James Gerald Joseph Doyle, 2/10th Battalion
KIA 22 January 1944
Photograph: P09061.001

Story delivered 22 January 2014

Today we remember Private James Gerald Joseph Doyle, who was killed in action seventy years ago today in New Guinea, on 22 January 1944. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

Known to his family as "Gerald", Doyle was born on 14 July 1918 in Bungendore, New South Wales. He was the youngest child of Patrick and Sarah Doyle. They were a farming family who lived on a property at Mount Fairy, some 20 kilometres north-east of Bungendore. Patrick Doyle died in 1932.

Following the outbreak of war in the Pacific in 1942, Gerald Doyle served as a trooper in the local 7th Motor Regiment, a motorised light horse unit. At the end of the year Doyle volunteered for the Australian Imperial Force and was one of 120 men who were transferred to Queensland's 11th Motor Regiment.

The 11th Motor Regiment spent much of 1943 based in Gympie, training and carrying out various exercise. In early July, a draft of 10 officers and 360 other ranks, including Doyle, were transferred to the veteran 7th Division's 2/10th Battalion, then at Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tableland.

The 2/10th Battalion had earlier served in the 1941 siege of Tobruk in the Middle East and then in Papua, fighting at Milne Bay and in the bloody beachhead battles of Buna and Sanananda in December 1942 and January 1943. According to the 2/10th Battalion's unit historian, the South Australian infantrymen christened the Queenslanders and New South Welshmen of the motor regiment the "forty thousand horsemen". The unit historian said, "They were of good physique, well trained, and jolly fine fellows," who later proved "their worth as fighting men".

In August 1943 the 2/10th Battalion arrived in Port Moresby. From September, units from the 7th Division became more heavily committed in New Guinea, with the Allies' advance to capture Lae and the campaigns in the Markham and Ramu valleys. On New Year's Day 1944, the 2/10th Battalion began moving by air to Dumpu in New Guinea. From Dumpu, the battalion took up position in the razorback ridges of the Ramu Valley.

The battalion spent the first half of January patrolling and becoming acclimatised to the conditions and terrain. During this time, the Australian forces were planning to take the feature known as Shaggy Ridge. As part of this operation, on the afternoon of 22 January the battalion's B Company unsuccessfully attacked the Japanese positions. Several Australians were killed or wounded.

Doyle was one of the dead. He was 25 years old. Two other men from the Canberra area, Lance Corporal John Woods and Private Harold Thomas, were also killed. All
three had originally served together in the 7th Motor Regiment.

Eighteen months earlier, Doyle's cousin Sergeant Gilbert Norman McAlister had died serving with the air force in England.

Doyle is buried in the Lae War Cemetery in New Guinea. His is also one of six men from the Canberra region remembered on the 2/10th Battalion Memorial cairn in
Eddison Park, Woden. He is commemorated here, on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 Australians who died during the Second World War.

We now remember Private James Gerald Joseph Doyle and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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