The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (QX7263) Private Clarence Benjamin Pullen, 2/3rd Field Ambulance, Second World War

Place Oceania: Australia, Queensland, Killarney
Accession Number PAFU2014/305.01
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 21 August 2014
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (QX7263) Private Clarence Benjamin Pullen, 2/3rd Field Ambulance, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

QX7263 Private Clarence Benjamin Pullen, 2/3rd Field Ambulance
DOD 24 March 1943
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 21 August 2014

Today we remember Private Clarence Benjamin Pullen, who died from illness while serving with the 2/3rd Field Ambulance in 1943.

Known as “Ben”, Pullen was born on 26 August 1916 in Killarney, in the Eastern Southern Downs region of Queensland. He was the third son of William and Dagmar Pullen. Ben Pullen attended Killarney State School and afterwards worked as a farm labourer. In February 1928 a young sister died at only 17 months, and four years later, in January 1932, Pullen’s mother died when he was 15.

Pullen enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 23 April 1940. After a month’s training at Redbank camp near Ipswich, he embarked from Sydney for overseas service.

Pullen arrived in England in July and was posted to the 2/3rd Field Ambulance on the Salisbury Plain. Here he joined his older brother Louis “Lou” Pullen, who was serving in the same unit. The area where the field ambulance was stationed was periodically bombed by German aircraft, and during these air raids it is said that Lou Pullen would not take shelter until he knew his younger brother was already in his trench. On New Year’s Eve Lou Pullen married an English woman, Kathleen Woodcock.

In January 1941 the AIF units began being transferred to the Middle East. Ben Pullen was ill during the voyage and spent some time in his ship’s sick bay. Almost immediately after disembarking at Port Said in Egypt, Pullen was admitted to the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital at nearby Kantara. He was diagnosed with mitral stenosis (valvular heart disease) and evacuated back to Australia. He arrived in Sydney on 24 April and was moved to Brisbane. Pullen was admitted to the 112th AGH before he was finally discharged a month later as being medically unfit for military service.

During this time, William “Bill” Pullen, the youngest brother, was also called up for the Militia and later volunteered for the AIF, serving in the infantry. Lou Pullen soldiered on with the 2/3rd Field Ambulance, serving in the siege of Tobruk during 1941 and in the battles of El Alamein in 1942, and was promoted to corporal. Returning from the Middle East in March 1943, Lou Pullen and two friends visited his terminally ill brother at home in Killarney. On 24 March 1943, the final day of Lou Pullen’s leave, Ben Pullen died. He was 26 years old.

Ben Pullen was buried in Killarney Cemetery alongside his mother and sister. Lou Pullen went absent without leave to attend his brother’s funeral.

Nine months later, in December 1943, Bill Pullen, the youngest brother to enlist, was killed in action fighting in the Ramu Valley in New Guinea.

Lou Pullen also served in New Guinea before finally being discharged from the army in mid-1944. After a separation of nearly two years, he was reunited with his wife in late November. The Pullen family was one of any number of Australian families whose lives were forever affected by the war.

Private Clarence Benjamin Pullen is commemorated here, on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 Australians who died during the Second World War. There is no photograph in the Memorial’s collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

We now remember his service 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 (QX7263) Private Clarence Benjamin Pullen, 2/3rd Field Ambulance, Second World War (video)