The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2926) Sergeant Eric Austin Tate, 20th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/333.01
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 5 September 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 Joanne Smedley, the story for this day was on (2926) Sergeant Eric Austin Tate, 20th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2926 Sergeant Eric Austin Tate, 20th Battalion, AIF
KIA 9 October 1917
Photos: P07715.002 and P07715.003

Story delivered 5 September 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Eric Tate.
Born in Kangaroo Valley near Nowra in New South Wales, Tate was a farmer when he enlisted in October 1915 at the age of 23. He had a keen interest in pedigree horses and cattle, and was well known locally as a talented runner and footballer.

Tate joined the 20th Battalion as a private and embarked for overseas service within weeks of his enlistment in November 1915. The battalion entered the trenches of the Western Front for the first time in April 1916, and in the following month had the dubious honour of being the first Australian battalion to be raided by the Germans. The 20th took part in its first major offensive around Pozières on the Somme between late July and the end of August 1916.

During the winter of 1916–17, Tate suffered from trench foot and spent time in hospital in England. He returned to France in late April 1917 and rejoined his battalion just after the second battle of Bullecourt in early May. Tate was promoted in the field, and made a sergeant in August 1917.

On 9 October the 20th Battalion took part in the battle of Poelcapelle, which was fought as part of the main British offensive in Belgium in 1917 known as the Third Battle of Ypres. The Australians were making a push toward the village of Passchendaele. Rain had begun to deluge an already poorly drained battlefield, and the infantry’s advance was wallowed in mud. Tate went missing during the battle. Reports to the Red Cross later confirmed that he had been killed by a shell burst. He was 25 years old.

The battles around Ypres in October 1917 resulted in more than 6,400 Australian soldiers killed, many of whom were recorded as missing. Tate is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres alongside the names of tens of thousands of other soldiers – Australian and British – who went missing in Belgium.

Tate’s name is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War. His photograph is displayed today 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 Sergeant Eric Austin Tate and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

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