The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (553) Private David Low, 32nd Battalion, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/098.01
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 28 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 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 Craig Blanch, the story for this day was on (553) Private David Low, 32nd Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

553 Private David Low, 32nd Battalion
DOW 4 August 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 28 March 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private David Low.

Dave Low was born to David and Helen Low in North Adelaide but grew up in Broken Hill, where his father was the Chief of the Caledonian Society. A talented footballer, Dave played Aussie Rules for North Adelaide Football Club, winning "best all round man" for them as a junior in 1905. Eventually, Low's talent came to the attention of the secretary of the West Torrens Football Club in Adelaide, and he moved south to play football with the SANFL. During the week he worked at the Islington government workshops as a machinist, but on the weekends he played as a defender in the back lines. In 1912 he was voted "the best man in the West Torrens Football Club" in a public vote. That same year he won the Magarey medal, South Australia's highest footballing honour presented to the player "whom the umpires consider to be the fairest and most brilliant in the league".

Dave Low enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in early July 1915. On 23 October that year he married Augustine Margaret Colgan in the Presbyterian Manse at St Peters. Less than two months later he was on his way to Egypt on HMAT Geelong.

Low was posted to the 32nd Battalion, and trained with them in Egypt before leaving for France in June 1916. The battalion fought its first major battle at Fromelles on 19 July. During this operation the 32nd Battalion captured its objectives, but strong German counter-attacks combined with heavy machine-gun fire from a nearby German position forced them to retire. Their casualty rate was estimated to be between 75 and 90 per cent of the battalion's fighting strength.

One casualty was Private Dave Low. He was taken to Edmonton Hospital in London with shrapnel wounds to his left shoulder and gunshot wounds to his right side. Although he initially appeared "fairly comfortable and was always happy and cheerful", after some time gangrene set in, and it was soon realised that his case was hopeless. He was conscious up until a few minutes before he died on 4 August 1916.

Dave Low was described as a "gentleman both on the field and off of it". He was always very popular and had a wide circle of friends in Adelaide. He continued to be a great favourite, and people became "much attached" to him during his stay in hospital. When he died many men requested leave to attend his funeral, and on the day he was buried in the "Heroes Corner" of Tottenham Cemetery in London more than 50 wounded soldiers attended in a "tribute to his great popularity".

Dave Low was survived by his wife and his widowed mother. He was 29 years old.

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 Private David Low, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (553) Private David Low, 32nd Battalion, First World War (video)