The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1384) Private Lee Bray Nankivell, 13th Battalion, First World War

Place Asia: Turkey, Canakkale Province, Gallipoli Peninsula, Shrapnel Valley Cemetery
Accession Number PAFU2015/200.01
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 May 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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (1384) Private Lee Bray Nankivell, 13th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

1384 Private Lee Bray Nankivell, 13th Battalion
KIA 14 May 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 24 May 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Lee Bray Nankivell.

Lee Nankivell was born on 7 August 1891 to Elias and Mary Jane Nankivell. He was the fourth of eight children and had four brothers and three sisters. His father, Elias, came to Australia from Devonshire as a boy and went into mining. He moved his family to Broken Hill when the city was in its infancy, and Lee grew up there, probably attending the Burke Ward School like his brother Presto.

Lee grew up in a staunchly Methodist family, and as a young man took on this faith and strove to live a Christian life. He was a faithful member of the Nicholls Street Methodist Church in Broken Hill, and served for five years in the choir. Like his father, Lee often acted as a lay preacher for the church. Shortly before the outbreak of the war, Elias Nankivell left Broken Hill to take up poultry farming in the Parramatta district. It seems that Lee left Broken Hill and went with his family.

Lee Nankivell enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in November 1914 out of a sense of duty towards king and country. He was posted to the 13th Battalion and underwent periods of training in Australia and Egypt. During this time he maintained his regular devotions, prayers, and bible readings in camp, and was regularly subjected to sneers and jibes as a result. Undeterred, he would say “I know what will become of my soul if the worst happens.”

The 13th Battalion landed at Anzac Cove late in the afternoon of 25 April 1915. The men of the battalion became heavily involved in establishing and defending the Anzac front line. On 14 May Nankivell was polishing his bayonet, sitting partly exposed, when a Turkish sniper shot him through the temple. He reeled around and muttered something before falling dead to the floor.

On that same day Lee’s brother Presto went into camp at Liverpool on his way to war. Presto served with distinction and was awarded a Military Medal. His quiet, earnest brother Lee was buried in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, where two of his mates placed a cross on his grave. He was 23 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 Australians who died during 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 Private Lee Bray Nankivell, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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