The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (760) Sergeant Oliver Edward Caley-Smith, 27th Battalion, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/049.01
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 18 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 Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

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 , the story for this day was on (760) Sergeant Oliver Edward Caley-Smith, 27th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

760 Sergeant Oliver Edward Caley-Smith, 27th Battalion
KIA 5 November 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 18 February

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Oliver Caley-Smith.

Caley-Smith was born in Angaston in South Australia's Barossa Valley in 1896. He attended the Angaston State School and then St Peter's College in Adelaide. Before the war Caley-Smith studied engineering as a trade at the School of Mines. He also served with the local citizens' militia in the 79th Infantry Engineering Corps. He was an active member of the local congregational church, where he taught Sunday school and was for some time the church's official organist for Mass services.

When at age 19 he enlisted for service in the AIF in early March 1915 he was assigned the rank of sergeant as a result of his previous experience in the citizens' militia. He left Australia with the 27th Battalion on HMAS Geelong, and first went to Egypt to undergo a period of training. While there, Caley-Smith was struck down by appendicitis and dispatched to a hospital just outside of Cairo. He would not re-join his battalion until September 1916, where he took part in the final days of the fierce fighting around Mouquet Farm in France.

In November Caley-Smith was with the 27th Battalion when they made an attack on a German trench near the French village of Flers. He was one of 75 men declared missing at the end of the operation. A court of inquiry would later determine that during the assault Caley-Smith took cover in a shell hole, where he was shot and killed along with three other soldiers. He was twenty years old.

Caley-Smith was one of many soldiers of I ANZAC to lose their lives during that final push on the Somme before the winter months began to take a stranglehold on the battlefield. His body was never recovered, and he is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial and here at the Australian War Memorial.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial's 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 Sergeant Oliver Caley-Smith, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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