The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX35724) Private Terrence Cecil Collins, 2/19th Battalion, AIF, Second World War

Place Asia: Singapore
Accession Number PAFU2014/461.01
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 1 December 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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (NX35724) Private Terrence Cecil Collins, 2/19th Battalion, AIF, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

NX35724 Private Terrence Cecil Collins, 2/19th Battalion, AIF
KIA 22 January 1942
Photograph supplied by family

Story delivered 1 December 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Terrence Cecil Collins, who was killed on active service with the Second Australian Imperial Force in January 1942.

Born in the small town of Gilgandra in New South Wales on 7 August 1917, Terrence Cecil Collins was the son of Hector and Bessie Isobel Collins. In 1924 the family moved to the Leeton in the Riverina region of New South Wales. There they resided at Farm 418, in a house that was originally built by the government for the poet Henry Lawson, who resided there from 1915 to 1917.

Terrence Collins was one of several children. He had four sisters – Bess, Francis, Hilda and Flo – and two brothers, Harry and Andrew. Growing up, Terrance played rugby with his brothers, and upon leaving school worked as a labourer on a local farm.

In June 1940 Collins enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force and was posted to the 2/19th Infantry Battalion, part of the 22nd Brigade of the 8th Australian Division. His brothers Harry and Andrew also served during the Second World War: Andrew served with the 2/1st Pioneer Battalion at Balikpapan in Borneo in 1945.

In February 1941 Terrence Collins embarked for Singapore aboard the famous ocean-liner-turned-troop-transport the Queen Mary. Upon arrival the battalion moved to southern Malaya, where they spent the following months training in jungle and tropical conditions.

Following Japan’s entry into the war in December 1941, the 2/19th Battalion fought in the defence of the Malayan peninsula. Elements of the battalion first saw action in mid-January 1942 around Bakri but were forced to withdraw from their positions in the face of the Japanese onslaught.

On 20 January the battalion was part of a group of Australian and Indian soldiers that was encircled by Japanese forces at Parit Sulong.

After heavy fighting, Lieutenant Colonel Charles Anderson, the commanding officer of the 2/19th Battalion, ordered the fit men encircled at Parit Sulong to break out and attempt to make it back to British lines. Terrence Collins was one of a party of 36 men who did so, heading toward Yong Peng. Terrence Collins and the rest of the group were last seen on 22 January. The fate of the party remains unknown, and the men, including Collins, were reported missing, presumed killed. He was 24 years old.

Collins’ body was never recovered, and his name is listed on the Singapore Memorial at the Kranji War Cemetery. It also appears here on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 Australians killed in the Second World War. His photograph is displayed beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Terrence Cecil Collins, and all of those Australians who gave their lives during war.

Lachlan Grant
Historian Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX35724) Private Terrence Cecil Collins, 2/19th Battalion, AIF, Second World War (video)