The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4209) Private Keith George Lakie, 50th Battalion, First World War

Place Europe: France
Accession Number PAFU2014/224.01
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 2 July 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (4209) Private Keith George Lakie, 50th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

4209 Private Keith George Lakie, 50th Battalion
KIA 16 August 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 2 July 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Keith George Lakie.

Keith Lakie was born in Port Adelaide and worked for the trading firm of Colton, Palmer, and Preston before enlisting in the first AIF in August 1915. He left Australia for Egypt in January the following year with the 10th Battalion. Here the AIF was reorganising to accommodate the large numbers of new recruits coming in, and as a part of this process Keith Lakie was transferred to the 50th Battalion. After a few months’ training, he was sent to France.

The first action the battalion saw on the Western Front was the fighting around Mouquet Farm on the Somme. In mid-August 1916 the battalion was in the front line when Lakie was reported missing.

Back home, Keith’s mother was informed that her son was missing just as her husband, who had enlisted in January 1916 at the age of 43, was en route to France. He heard a rumour that his son had been taken prisoner at Pozières and, enormously relieved, sent the news home to his wife. But despite frequent enquiries this could not be confirmed.

A year later, the army ruled that Keith Lakie, far from being in the hands of the Germans, had probably been killed on the battlefield that day in August 1916. Private Rust of the 50th Battalion reported that he had been in a shell hole with Lakie in the front line when they were both hit by the same shell. Rust was knocked unconscious for 12 hours, lying in the bottom of a trench until picked up by stretcher-bearers. Lakie’s body was never found, whether because of the damage sustained in the explosion or because the blast buried him.

Lakie’s father, George, was repatriated to Australia in 1918 because of failing fitness. Life on the Western Front was hard for a man of his age and he suffered from serious chest problems and failing eyesight. Nevertheless, he went on to live to the age of 83, survived by his wife and two daughters.

Keith Lakie, George’s only son, is remembered on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial in France, and his name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with some 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 Keith George Lakie, 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 (4209) Private Keith George Lakie, 50th Battalion, First World War (video)