The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (990) Private William Hallett Stockdale, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number PAFU2015/124.01
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 24 March 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
Description

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 (990) Private William Hallett Stockdale, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

990 Private William Hallett Stockdale, 6th Battalion, AIF
KIA 8 May 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 24 March 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private William Hallett Stockdale, who died during the First World War.

William Stockdale was born in 1887 in Kilmore, Victoria, one of nine children of parents William and Agnes. William was schooled at the Marist Brothers Assumption College and was working as a farmer prior to his enlistment, just several weeks after the declaration of war in August 1914. His younger brother, Perrie, also enlisted around the same time.

Private William Stockdale was assigned to the 6th Battalion. In October 1914, after a period of training, he travelled on HMAT Hororata to Egypt, from where his battalion was part of the second wave of troops to land on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. After ten days in the trenches the battalion was ordered to move to Cape Helles, on the southern tip of the peninsula. Here they would take part in an attack against the town of Krithia, a Turkish stronghold that had been the objective of the British on the first day of the landings.

The 6th Battalion was ordered into action at 5.30 pm on 8 May. Its orders were to form the front line of an attack against the enemy trenches, with the ultimate goal taking the hill to the rear of the town. This was a fierce and dangerous advance. The enemy position was heavily defended and the toll on the Australians was great. The 6th Battalion’s war diary for that day states that “the advance commenced under very heavy shrapnel, rifle, and machine-gun fire” and that “losses were heavy”. Official historian Charles Bean wrote that the attack was “made in the teeth of rifle and machine-gun fire such as Australians seldom again encountered during the war”.

By the time the 6th Battalion was relieved four days later, it had suffered 337 casualties. One of those was William Stockdale. The exact particulars of his death are unknown, and his body was never recovered, but a court of inquiry held in Alexandria in June 1915 concluded that he had been killed in action. He was 28 years old.

William Stockdale is commemorated at the Cape Helles memorial, a 30-metre-high obelisk visible to ships passing through the Dardanelles. This memorial lists the names of more than 21,000 British, Indian, and Australian troops who died at Helles and elsewhere on the peninsula and who have no known grave.

William Stockdale’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.

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

Dr Kate Ariotti
Historian, Military History Section

Sources:
www.ancestry.com

Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour circular.

6th Battalion War Diary for May 1915, entry for 8/5/1915 and 12/5/1915: AWM4, 23/23/1.

National Archives of Australia, William Stockdale, service record.

National Archives of Australia, William Stockdale, “Report of death of a soldier”.

National Archives of Australia, Perrie Stockdale, service record.

C.E.W. Bean, Official history of Australia in the war of 1914–1918, volume II, Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1921–1942, p. 36.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/76100/HELLES%20MEMORIAL.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (990) Private William Hallett Stockdale, 6th Battalion, AIF, First World War (video)