The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3135a) Private William John Cram, 53rd Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Ypres, Zonnebeke, Polygon Wood
Accession Number PAFU2014/394.01
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 15 October 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 Robyn Siers, the story for this day was on (3135a) Private William John Cram, 53rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

3135a Private William John Cram, 53rd Battalion, AIF
DOW 27 September 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 15 October 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private William John Cram.

William Cram was born in 1896 in Hamilton, New South Wales, to John and Louisa Cram. He attended the Collegiate School in Newcastle and went on to work for the Newcastle Morning Herald as a press reader. In 1916 he married Amelia Gaggin.

In late October that year William Cram enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. His father, John Cram, had enlisted a few weeks earlier, citing his age as 44 years and 11 months. William made the decision to enlist suddenly, and was in camp the day after he presented himself to the enlistment office.

He was still eight months short of his 21st birthday, and his mother would give her permission only if he went with his father. As a result, William’s departure from Australia was expedited so the two could leave at the same time. Both were both posted to the 53rd Battalion.

William’s father had been an alderman in Newcastle and Hamilton, occupying a seat in the council for more than 14 years. The town gave John and his son a large citizens’ function to celebrate their departure for the front. Both received a number of gifts, including a gold watch each from the citizens of Hamilton.

William Cram left Australia on 11 November 1916. He underwent an extended period of training in England, finally joining his battalion in the field in France in August 1917.

One month and one day later the 53rd Battalion attacked near Polygon Wood in Belgium. They were successful in capturing their objectives, but during the attack William Cram was hit, probably by an artillery shell, although some reports state he was hit by rifle or machine-gun fire.

Wounded in the spine and knee, he was taken to a nearby casualty clearing station, where he died of his wounds the following day.

John Cram returned to Australia without his young son. William Cram is now buried in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

He was 21 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 William John Cram, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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