The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Benno Carl Lehmann MC, 3rd Australian Machine Gun Company, First World War

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Bapaume Cambrai Area
Accession Number PAFU2014/476.01
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 16 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 Charis May, the story for this day was on Lieutenant Benno Carl Lehmann MC, 3rd Australian Machine Gun Company, First World War.

Speech transcript

Lieutenant Benno Carl Lehmann MC, 3rd Australian Machine Gun Company
KIA 21 September 1917

Photograph: P07755.001

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Benno Carl Lehmann, who died during the First World War.

Benno Lehmann was born in December 1879 to Emilius and Auguste Lehmann in Maitland, South Australia. When war broke out Lehmann was living with his wife, Eliza, in Fremantle, Western Australia. The 35-year-old was working as a marine engineer when he enlisted in the AIF in September 1915.

Lehmann joined the 14th reinforcements of the 11th Battalion. He left Fremantle on HMAT Miltiades in February 1916 and arrived in Egypt one month later. After a few weeks training, Lehmann was sent to France, where he spent several months instructing reinforcements at Ètaples. In October 1916 he attended Vickers Machine Gun School, and was promoted to lieutenant just after Christmas. Early in the new year Lehmann was transferred from the 11th Battalion and was taken on strength of the 3rd Australian Machine Gun Company. He underwent a further period of instruction and training at Camiers and re-joined his unit in late April 1917.

In May 1917 Lehmann was involved in the fighting around Bullecourt at Riencourt. He was wounded in the right buttock and was sent to hospital for treatment and convalescence. Lehmann rejoined his unit in early July and in August was awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty for his actions at Riencourt. The citation for his MC read:

During an enemy counter-attack he brought his gun into action at great personal risk … On seeing his gun in danger of being captured he led a bombing attack and though twice wounded, remained until the enemy was repulsed.

Lehmann was killed just over a month later. On 21 September the 3rd Machine Gun Company was involved in the fighting around Glencorse Wood as part of the larger allied advance on the Menin Road. Lehmann had been wounded early in the battle, and was making his way back to the front after receiving treatment at a casualty clearing station when he was hit by a shell. He was badly wounded, and witnesses stated that he died instantly.

Lehmann’s death was reported in several Western Australian newspapers. He was described as “a most popular officer” and it was said that his death came “as a great shock to a large circle of friends”. As a sign of respect and mourning, the flags of the Fremantle Harbour Trust, where Lehmann had previously worked, were flown at half-mast.

After the war, Lehmann was commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in the Belgian town of Ypres. This memorial contains the names of over 54,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died during the First World War and who have no known grave, including 6,000 Australian soldiers.

Benno Lehmann’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour to my right, along with the names of more than 60,000 other Australians who died fighting in the First World War. His photograph is displayed today by 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 Lieutenant Benno Carl Lehmann, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Kate Ariotti
Historian, Military History Section

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