The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3479) Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/041.01
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 10 February 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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (3479) Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

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Speech transcript

3479 Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion
DOW 31 August 1916
Photograph: H05658

Story delivered 10 February 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Colin Campbell Barr.

Colin Barr was born in Richmond, Victoria, in 1896 to Robert and Maria Barr. Little is known of his early life, although we know that he attended school in Hawthorn West. Afterwards he followed his elder brother David into work in a tannery. Both boys enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces together in August 1915.

After a period of training in Australia the brothers were sent to Egypt. They arrived at a time when the AIF was undergoing a period of expansion and reorganisation, and as a result they were taken out of the 22nd Battalion, to which they had originally been posted, and ended up with the 60th. After a period of further training they were sent to France to fight on the Western Front, arriving in late June 1916.

On 19 July 1916 the 60th Battalion participated in its first major operation on the Western Front - Fromelles. As the attack began the two boys turned to each other in the trench and shook hands before climbing out over the parapet. The waves of infantry from the 60th Battalion came under immediate heavy artillery, machine-gun, and rifle fire, and they suffered heavy casualties.

As David and Colin crossed no man's land together they were both hit. Colin later wrote, "The worst part of it all [was] I never fired a shot at them." As they lay near each other, David told Colin to ask their father to forgive him - what this forgiveness was for is now forgotten, and David died shortly afterwards.

Colin had been hit in the back by shrapnel and was sent to hospital in England with wounds to his chest and lungs. A regular visitor to the hospital was Miss Bloxham of Kent, who would try to cheer up the sick men. She wrote of visiting Colin, saying, "He is only 19 and looks even younger ... I thought him a very nice boy." They had many conversations at her weekly visits, and Colin spoke often of David; he was clearly devoted to his brother and devastated by his death.

One Wednesday Miss Bloxham arrived to find that Colin's condition had deteriorated; he had been moved to a separate ward and was now delirious. She wrote, "He didn't know me, but he held my hand tightly and I hoped he might feel someone belonging to him was there." Colin Barr died later that night, on 31 August 1916.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 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 Colin Campbell Barr, his brother Private David Barr, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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