The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1350) Private Albert John Handcock, 7th Battalion, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/090.01
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 20 March 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 Stuart Baines, the story for this day was on (1350) Private Albert John Handcock, 7th Battalion, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

1350 Private Albert John Handcock, 7th Battalion
KIA 25 April 1915
Photograph: H05968

Story delivered 20 March 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Albert John Handcock, whose photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

"Jack" Handcock was born in Myrrhee, near Wangaratta in Victoria. He was one of nine sons and a daughter born to Charles Handcock and his wife. He attended the local state school and then went to Bendigo to learn carpentry, which became his trade. He also sometimes worked on his father's property and was considered "a hardworking and energetic young man".

Jack enlisted shortly after the outbreak of the First World War and was posted to the 7th Battalion. He was with his battalion when it arrived in Egypt on 2 December 1914, and went with them to the Gallipoli peninsula the following April. At 4 am the 7th Battalion was anchored off Gaba Tepe waiting its turn to land on Anzac Cove. An hour and a half later it was towed ashore and went into the attack straight away. Almost immediately men and units of the battalion became mixed with those of other battalions. It took some time to stabilise the front line and reorganise the Australian units on the peninsula.

Nobody knows what happened to Private Jack Handcock. The best that could be ascertained was that he went missing between 25 April and 2 May 1915, and must be considered to have been killed in action. Today we remember his date of death as 25 April, the day of the dawn landing. He was 23. Jack Handcock has no known grave. In one of his few letters home he wrote that in the event of his death his family should "take the news bravely I am dying a soldier's death".

Jack was not the only Handcock brother to die during the war. His eldest brother, Charles, who had enlisted early in 1916, died of illness the day before the Armistice in 1918. Three more brothers were seriously wounded: Robert was hit in the shoulder at Pozières and repatriated to Australia before the end of the war; Richard was seriously gassed in 1918; and Frank suffered a paralysed arm and was shot in the ankle, eventually losing his leg.

The local district recognised the Handcock family as "one of the most patriotic and loyal families in the Commonwealth". Indeed, Jack Handcock's father would have allowed his ninth son to "follow the example of his brothers' had it not been for the end of the war. For their services to "King and Country", the Mayor of Wangaratta presented Mr and Mrs Handcock with a solid marble clock "as an expression of appreciation and admiration for the sacrifices" they made.

Private Handcock's name is listed on the Roll of Honour to my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Albert John Handcock, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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