The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (185458) Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Somalia

Place Africa: Somalia, Baidoa
Accession Number PAFU2014/213.01
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 30 June 2014
Access Open
Conflict Somalia, 1992-1995
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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (185458) Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Somalia.

Film order form
Speech transcript

185458 Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Accidentally killed 2 April 1993
Photograph: MSU/93/0179/35

Story delivered 30 June 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney who died in Somalia in 1993.

Shannon “Mac” McAliney was born in Forbes on 8 May 1971, the only child of Liz Hanns and Michael McAliney. He attended Forbes North Public School, before moving at the age of ten to Ballina, on the New South Wales north coast. He played soccer and cricket, and enjoyed surfing, but from a very young age his focus was on army toys. He often expressed his desire to one day joining the army and serving his country.

In 1988 Shannon left school early to enlist in the Australian Regular Army. After undertaking basic training at the Recruit Training Centre in Kapooka and the Infantry Centre in Singleton he was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.

Mac proved a competent and well-liked soldier, his sense of humour and willingness to work for the team endearing him to his peers and his supervisors. At the end of 1992 his enthusiasm and hard work saw him promoted to lance corporal. He also received the prestigious award of Champion Soldier of Delta Company.

Soon after, 1RAR was chosen to deploy to Somalia as part of Australia’s commitment to the US-led Unified Task Force. Its mission was to provide protection for the delivery of humanitarian aid in a country shattered by years of civil war and famine. At the time this was Australia’s largest commitment to international peacekeeping, and the first operational service deployment by an Australian battalion group since the Vietnam War.

Mac, like many of his mates in 1RAR, was excited by the prospect of putting his skills to the test in a real operational environment. The Australians patrolled Baidoa and the surrounding countryside providing protection for the numerous non-government aid organisations. Despite the often long and gruelling hours on patrol and the inherent danger in the task, Mac loved being in the thick of the action.

On 2 April 1993 McAliney was leading a routine night patrol in Baidoa township. As they were about to begin one of the patrol members accidentally discharged his rifle and McAliney was shot in the chest at point-blank range. Despite immediate first aid, Mac passed away soon after arrival at the treatment section of the Australian camp at Baidoa airfield.

Mac was buried with a full military funeral in his hometown of Forbes, where people remembered a mate with a good sense of humour, a courteous and polite young man, and a dutiful son. Mac’s death was a tragedy, but he had often told his mother that if he could make a difference in people’s lives then his own would have been worth while.

The photograph displayed beside the Pool of Reflection shows Mac distributing humanitarian aid in Somalia just days before his death. The Somali woman pictured alongside him later sent a message to Mac’s mother expressing her sympathy and describing how, for her at least, the young soldier had made a difference.

Shannon McAliney was 21 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with over 102,000 others who died in war or overseas operational service.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney, 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 (185458) Lance Corporal Shannon McAliney, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Somalia (video)