The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2060) Private James Laurence “Jimmie” Cain, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/464.01
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 4 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

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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (2060) Private James Laurence “Jimmie” Cain, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2060 Private James Laurence “Jimmie” Cain, 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 20 April 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 4 December 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private James Laurence Cain.

“Jimmie” Cain was born in 1885 to Thomas and Margaret Cain in Port Wakefield, South Australia. After serving a five-year apprenticeship with the South Australian government he became a railway fitter and mechanic and moved to Darwin. With his gregarious personality, he became a well-known figure in town.

Following the outbreak of the First World War, Cain travelled to Townsville, where he enlisted on 22 March 1915. Allocated to the 5th reinforcements to the 9th Battalion, he embarked from Brisbane with his unit aboard the transport Ship Kyarra that April, bound for Egypt.

Cain joined the 9th Battalion on Gallipoli towards the end of June and served there until the end of August, when he was evacuated back to Egypt suffering from an unspecified illness. He did not return to Gallipoli and rejoined the 9th Battalion when it arrived back in Egypt in January. Here the battalion rested and was brought up to strength before sailing to France at the end of March.

In April the men of the 9th Battalion were in reserve billets near Rouge-de-Bout, one mile behind the front line in the Armentières sector. Intermittent artillery fire was landing nearby.

Early in the afternoon of 20 April, tragedy struck, and the battalion’s C Company billets were heavily shelled. One shell landed outside a canvas tent, wounding four, and as men went to assist them another shell landed, killing several men and wounding others. A further shell hit a brick wall of a nearby billet, causing a further 47 casualties.

The company was decimated, with 25 men killed, one of whom was Cain, and a further 50 wounded. Several other men would die from their wounds over the ensuing days.
Later that day, Cain and the other fallen were laid to rest in the Rue-Du-Bacquerot (13th London) Graveyard at Laventie. Jimmie Cain was 31 years old.

Cain’s 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 Private James Laurence Cain, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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