The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1997) Private Cecil Ross Quinn, 18th Battalion, First World War

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Pozieres
Accession Number PAFU2014/296.01
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 12 August 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

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 Nicholas Schmidt, the story for this day was on (1997) Private Cecil Ross Quinn, 18th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

1997 Private Cecil Ross Quinn, 18th Battalion
KIA 3 August 1916
Photograph: P08624.103

Story delivered 12 August 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Cecil Ross Quinn, whose photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

Cecil Quinn was the second of three sons born to Isabella Quinn and her husband. Cecil’s father abandoned the family when Cecil was very young, and the children were brought up by their mother. Little else is known of Cecil’s early life, although his was probably brought up in Sydney in and around Parramatta and Darlinghurst, where his mother’s sisters lived. Before his enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force, Cecil was working as a labourer.

On 16 June 1915 Cecil Quinn enlisted in the AIF and was posted to the 18th Battalion. He was followed two months later by his older brother, Leslie, who went into the 3rd Battalion, and in November 1915 by his younger brother, Thomas, who was posted to the 4th Battalion. Cecil was just in time to see some service on Gallipoli, probably arriving there around November 1915.

After a period of training in Egypt, Cecil went with the 3rd Battalion to fight on the Western Front. Before becoming involved in its first major operation at the Somme the 3rd Battalion spent some time in or near the front line in order to get the men used to conditions of trench warfare. While the battalion was providing working parties in the front line near Fleurbaix, Cecil’s brother Leslie was killed, probably as a result of mortar fire.

Less than six weeks later the 3rd Battalion went into the front line at Pozières, a French village recently captured by the 1st Australian Division. The front line was under continuous heavy shell-fire for almost the entire time the men of the battalion were preparing for the upcoming operation. On 3 August 1916, somewhere in the midst of that heavy fire, Private Cecil Quinn was killed.

In Australia, Cecil’s mother, already devastated by the death of her first-born son, received word that a second had been killed in the war. A year later Thomas, the sole survivor, was repatriated to Australia “for family reasons”.

Cecil Quinn’s body was lost in the fighting at Pozières and Mouquet Farm and he now has no known final resting place. He was 22 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.

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

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