The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2476) Sergeant Albert Edward Coller 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Armentieres
Accession Number PAFU2015/022.01
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 22 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 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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (2476) Sergeant Albert Edward Coller 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2476 Sergeant Albert Edward Coller 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 20 April 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 22 January 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Albert Edward Coller.

Albert Edward Coller was born in London in July 1893. Little is known about his early life, other than the fact that in 1912, aged 19, he immigrated to Australia and was working as a labourer in Brisbane when the First World War began.

He enlisted in Brisbane on 1 February 1915, joining the 9th Battalion. Allocated to the 7th reinforcements, he embarked from Sydney with his unit aboard the transport ship Shropshire on 20 August, bound for Egypt.

Coller joined the 9th Battalion on Lemnos in November, shortly after the battalion had been withdrawn from Gallipoli. The battalion returned to Egypt in January 1915 to rest and reinforce, and then sailed for France in March.

By 19 April the 9th Battalion was in reserve billets near Rouge-de-Bout, one mile behind the front line in the Armentières, known as the Nursery Sector. Intermittent artillery fire was landing nearby.

Early in the afternoon of 20 April, tragedy struck; the battalion’s C Company billets were heavily shelled. One shell landed outside a canvas tent, wounding four soldiers; and as men went to assist another shell landed among them, killing several men and wounding others. A further shell hit the brick wall of a nearby billet, causing a further 47 casualties. C Company was decimated, suffering 25 men killed, one of whom was Coller, and a further 50 wounded. Several other men would die from their wounds over the ensuing days.

Later that day, Coller and the other fallen men of C Company were laid to rest in the Rue-Du-Bacquerot (13th London) Graveyard at Laventie. He was 22 years old.

Coller’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with the names of 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 Albert Edward Coller, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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