The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX81964) Sapper Stanley Ernest Ross, 1st Training Battalion, Royal Australian Engineers, Second World War

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales, Wagga Wagga, Kapooka
Accession Number PAFU2014/443.01
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 30 November 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 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 Andrew Smith, the story for this day was on (NX81964) Sapper Stanley Ernest Ross, 1st Training Battalion, Royal Australian Engineers, Second World War.

Speech transcript

NX81964 Sapper Stanley Ernest Ross, 1st Training Battalion, Royal Australian Engineers
Accidentally killed 21 May 1945
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 30 November 2014

Today we pay tribute to Sapper Stanley Ernest Ross, who was killed in the service of the Royal Australian Engineers in 1945.

Born on 30 January 1917 in Mungindi, in the Moree Plains region of northern New South Wales, Stanley Ernest Ross was the son of Francis George Ross and Elizabeth Kathleen Ross.

A motor mechanic before the war, Ross enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force on New Year’s Day 1942. Following enlistment he was posted to the Australian Army Service Corps, where he employed his motor mechanic skills.

Later he was posted to the 1st Training Battalion, Royal Australian Engineers, at the large Australian Army training base at Kapooka. However, in the afternoon of 21 May 1945, tragedy struck.

Crowded within a dug-out during a routine demolition training exercise on the preparation of hand charges were two groups: one of 22 trainees and two instructors; and a smaller squad of three men and one instructor. Inside the dug-out were 110 pounds of explosives stored for day’s exercise. In circumstances that remain unknown to this day, the explosives ignited. In the explosion, 24 men were killed instantly, two died of injuries shortly afterwards, and two more were severely injured.

Ross was one of those killed in the accident. He was 28 years old.

Three days later a mass funeral was held for the men in Wagga Wagga. Thousands of people lined the route of the funeral parade. The 26 flag-draped coffins were carried on four army trucks, and the cortège included over 100 military vehicles carrying members of the army and air force. The dead were buried in the Wagga Wagga War Cemetery.

Ross’s name is listed here – along with those of the other 25 killed in the accident – on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with around 40,000 other Australians killed in the Second World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sapper Stanley Ernest Ross, and all of those Australians who gave their lives in the hope for a better world.

Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX81964) Sapper Stanley Ernest Ross, 1st Training Battalion, Royal Australian Engineers, Second World War (video)