The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (969) Sergeant Charles Crapper, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number PAFU2014/462.01
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 2 December 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (969) Sergeant Charles Crapper, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

969 Sergeant Charles Crapper, 14th Battalion, AIF
DOD 27 September 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 2 December 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Charles Crapper.

Born in Raywood, Victoria, in 1869, Charles Crapper was educated at the Yallock State School, after which he became a farmer. He was also a member of the local militia unit, the Dingee Cavalry. After farming, he took up a job as a baker in Reywood, before becoming a miner some years after.

Crapper enlisted for service with the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles contingent to South Africa in February 1901 and embarked soon after. His unit was involved in a number of actions against the Boers, after which Crapper returned to Australia and was discharged in April 1902.

Crapper returned to mining and worked in this capacity until the First World War began. On 18 September 1914, at the age of 45, he enlisted for service with the 14th Battalion in Bendigo, Victoria. He was accepted and joined his unit at the Broadmeadows Army Camp.

With his previous service in South Africa, Crapper was promoted to sergeant and was seconded to be a cook in the battalion. He embarked with the 14th Battalion from Melbourne in December aboard the transport ship Ulysses, and disembarked in Egypt in January.

After training in the desert for several months, the AIF then began moving men and material to Mudros Harbour in preparation for the impending landings on Gallipoli. Crapper went ashore with the 14th Battalion in the afternoon of 25 April.

As the campaign unfolded the 14th Battalion was involved in repulsing the Turkish counter-attack on 19 May, and later during the August Offensive took part in the attacks on hills 971 and 60. With the men being exposed to a scorching sun and with the lack of fresh drinking water available, Crapper, with his skill as a miner, went to work digging shafts in search of fresh water for his unit. The heavy work quickly took a toll on his health and he contracted dysentery.

In late August he was transferred from Gallipoli to Mudros for further treatment. His condition continued to deteriorate and he was taken by hospital ship to Malta in early September. His health continued to fail and he succumbed to his illness on 27 September 1915. He was buried in the Pieta Military Cemetery in Malta.

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 service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant Charles Crapper, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (969) Sergeant Charles Crapper, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War (video)