The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3043) Private George Blake, 28th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Passchendaele
Accession Number PAFU2015/019.01
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 19 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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (3043) Private George Blake, 28th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

3043 Private George Blake, 28th Battalion, AIF
KIA 9 October 1917
Photograph: H05448

Story delivered 19 January 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private George Blake, who was killed during the First World War.

George Blake was born in Collingwood, Melbourne, but was living and working as a labourer in Western Australia when he enlisted in September 1915 at the age of 27. His younger brother William had previously enlisted in the 10th Light Horse Regiment in December 1914, and had been killed at the infamous charge at The Nek on Gallipoli in August 1915.

George Blake was assigned to the 7th reinforcements to the 28th Battalion. After training at Blackboy Hill in Western Australia, he embarked for Egypt on HMAT Medic A7 in January 1916. In March the battalion was sent to France.

Private Blake had several run-ins with the military authorities. Nevertheless, he served with his battalion in some of the major battles on the Western Front, including Pozières in July and August 1916, and in the Somme Valley in October. In December Private Blake was admitted to hospital in France with “Disordered Action of the Heart”, an illness that later became known as “effort syndrome”. He was subsequently transferred to a London hospital and then a convalescent camp, where he stayed for several months.

In May 1917 Blake was deemed well enough to return to France, and he rejoined his battalion in June. In July and August the 28th was in training, and in September it joined the fight around the Menin Road in Belgium. In early October the battalion was engaged to support the advancing front line along Broodseinde Ridge. Success at Broodseinde encouraged the allied military authorities to push on and, a few days later, attempt to capture the village of Passchendaele. Drenching rain, thick mud, and confusion meant this attack was ultimately a failure.

The 28th Battalion’s war diary for 9 October states that “the enemy concentrated heavy artillery fire on our original front line, while machine guns and sniping were particularly active”. By 10 pm the Battalion had suffered 11 casualties, including three men killed. One of these men was Private Blake. His parents, George and Maria, thus lost both their sons in the war.

Private George Blake is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in the Belgium town of Ypres, along with the names of 54,000 Commonwealth servicemen who died in the Ypres Salient with no known graves.

Blake’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 other Australians who died fighting in the First World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

His is just one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private George Blake and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Kate Ariotti
Historian, Military History Section

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