The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (778) Trooper James Anderson, 10th Light Horse Brigade, First World War

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number PAFU2015/008.01
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 8 January 2015
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 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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (778) Trooper James Anderson, 10th Light Horse Brigade, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

778 Trooper James Anderson, 10th Light Horse Brigade
KIA 7 August 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 8 January 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Trooper James Anderson, who died during the First World War.

James Anderson was born in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, in 1889. He was one of four siblings who went their separate ways after both parents died when James was young. James’ two sisters and his brother were sent to a family in New South Wales, while James made his way to Western Australia. He attended Kalgoorlie Public School, and worked as a farmer and in the bush before becoming a miner.

James was 26 when he enlisted in January 1915. After training at Blackboy Hill, he was posted to the 3rd reinforcements of the 10th Australian Light Horse. James left Australia for Egypt in February 1915 on HMAT Itonus. On 16 May his unit embarked for Gallipoli where, like other light horsemen on the peninsula, they served dismounted.

Since the April landings the Gallipoli campaign had descended into stalemate. To regain the initiative, allied forces launched a major offensive designed to take control of the high ground to the north and inland of Anzac Cove. It was believed that this would allow allied troops to move across the peninsula, cutting the Turkish forces in half. A series of feints were organised to distract and divert the Turkish troops from the main attack. The charge at The Nek – the narrow bridge of land that stretched between Russell’s Top and Baby 700 across Monash Valley – was one such planned distraction.

James was one of 600 Australians to fight at The Nek in August 1915. Early in the morning of 7 August four waves of troops from the 8th and 10th Light Horse Regiments were ordered to leave their trenches and charge across the Nek to overrun the Turkish positions on the slopes of Baby 700. The attack was a disaster. The artillery bombardment designed to clear the way for the light horsemen’s charge stopped early, and the heavily defended Turkish troops had the higher ground.

The Australians suffered heavy losses as they made their attack, and 234 men – including James Anderson – were killed.

In Australia, the military authorities were able to trace James’ sister Lila and his younger brother, Hugh, to whom James’ medals were sent. In a 1929 letter to AIF Base Records, Lila wrote that she hoped James would appear on the Roll of Honour, as he had been “a good boy, who always worked hard”.

James is commemorated at the Lone Pine Memorial on Gallipoli along with 4,900 Australian and New Zealanders with no known graves. He is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 other Australians who died during the First World War.

This is just one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Trooper James Anderson, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Kate Ariotti
Historian, Military History Section

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