The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (8215477) Signaller Sean McCarthy, Special Air Service Regiment, Afghanistan

Place Asia: Afghanistan, Uruzgan Province, Tarin Kot
Accession Number PAFU2014/194.01
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 11 June 2014
Access Open
Conflict Afghanistan, 2001-2021
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

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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (8215477) Signaller Sean McCarthy, Special Air Service Regiment, Afghanistan.

Speech transcript

8215477 Signaller Sean McCarthy, Special Air Service Regiment
KIA 8 July 2009

No photograph in collection

Today we remember and pay tribute to Signaller Sean McCarthy, who was killed fighting in Afghanistan in 2008.

Sean Patrick McCarthy was born in Auckland in January 1983, and was one of three children of Mary and David McCarthy. Sean grew up on Queensland’s Gold Coast, where he attended St Francis Xavier Catholic Primary School at Runaway Bay, and later Trinity Lutheran College in Ashmore. Sean was an avid sportsman, representing Trinity in its 2nd XV Rugby squad, water polo, and its student representative council. Sean was quick-witted, had a great sense of humour, and was always courteous and considerate of others.

Sean enlisted in the Australian Defence Force in 2000 after finishing high school. He completed recruit training at Kapooka, New South Wales, and a number of mandatory courses within the Royal Australian Corps of Signals that enabled him to become an Electronic Warfare Operator – Technical Signals specialist. He was posted to 7th Signal Regiment in July 2003 and was based at Borneo Barracks at Cabarlah, Queensland. There he provided tactical electronic warfare support to units of the 6th Brigade, operating a large range of complex, state-of-the-art electronic interception and monitoring equipment.

Sean spent four years with the 7th Signal Regiment before transferring to the elite Special Air Services Regiment in 2007. Several months after moving to Campbell Barracks in Western Australia, Sean was deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Special Operations Task Group. Based out of Tarin Kot in Uruzgan Province, Sean was actively involved in conducting counter-insurgency operations.

On one occasion, Sean’s patrol was heavily involved in an engagement with Taliban forces, resulting in an Australian casualty. During this engagement, a visual marker panel placed to be used as a reference for fire support could not be seen by a nearby patrol. Sean broke from his position of relative safety and ran out into the exposed area, climbing a tree under enemy fire so that their position could be identified. For his actions that day Sean received the Special Operations Commander Australia Commendation.

Sean returned to Australia in January 2008, and soon after was briefly deployed to East Timor as part of Operation Astute. He returned to Afghanistan in June to again take part in counter-insurgency operations in Uruzgan Province. On 8 July 2008, in his troop’s first patrol since returning to Afghanistan, the vehicle Sean was travelling in triggered a 20-kilogram Improvised Explosive Device as it crossed a wadi in the Mirabad Valley. The blast severely wounded Sean and four others. All five casualties were casevaced to hospital at Tarin Kot, but Sean died before arriving. He was 25 years old.

Sean was buried with full military honours at Southport Lawn Cemetery in Queensland in 2008, with a memorial plaque placed at the Pinaroo Cemetery. Sean was well respected by his comrades, who say he embodied the essential qualities of courage, boldness, and perseverance that made him such a highly skilled and professional soldier. He continues to be sorely missed by friends and family.

Sean McCarthy is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, alongside the names of 39 other Australians who lost their lives fighting in Afghanistan.

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

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (8215477) Signaller Sean McCarthy, Special Air Service Regiment, Afghanistan (video)