|Last Post film
Australian War Memorial
|Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
|16 April 2014
First World War, 1914-1918
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
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The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3474A) Private David Barr, 60th Battalion, First World War
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 Robyn Siers, the story for this day was on (3474A) Private David Barr, 60th Battalion, First World War.Film order form
3474A Private David Barr, 60th Battalion
KIA 19 July 1916
Story delivered 16 April 2014
Today we remember and pay tribute to Private David Barr, whose photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.
David Barr was born in Richmond, Melbourne in 1890, the son of Robert and Maria Barr. Little is known of his early life, but we do know that he attended school in Hawthorn West. Afterwards he became a tanner, followed by his younger brother Colin. Both boys enlisted in the Australian Imperial Forces together in August 1915.
After a period of training in Australia the brothers were sent together 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 their first major operation on the Western Front at Fromelles. The two boys turned to each other in the trench just as the attack began and shook hands before climbing out over the parapet. The waves of infantry from the 60th Battalion came under heavy artillery, machine-gun, and rifle fire as soon as they left to begin the attack, and 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 were lying near each other, David told Colin to ask his father to forgive him for something he had done some time ago that is now forgotten. He died shortly afterwards.
At roll call after leaving the front line, just four officers and 61 other ranks were present. Over 750 men of the battalion had been made casualties.
Colin had been hit in the back by shrapnel at the same time as David, and died of his wounds more than a month later in hospital in England. He was buried in a cemetery near the hospital, but David's remains were never recovered. David was 25 years old, Colin 19.
Their names are listed on the Roll of Honour on 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 David Barr, his younger brother Private Colin Barr, 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 (3474A) Private David Barr, 60th Battalion, First World War (video)