The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (741) Sergeant Albert Reginald Victor Chaplin, 52nd Battalion, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Mouquet Farm
Accession Number PAFU2015/231.01
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 11 June 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 (741) Sergeant Albert Reginald Victor Chaplin, 52nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

741 Sergeant Albert Reginald Victor Chaplin, 52nd Battalion, AIF
KIA 3 September 1916
Photograph: P05371.001 (right, with brother George Lancelot Chaplin)

Story delivered 11 June 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant Albert Reginald Victor Chaplin.

Albert Chaplin was born on 1 August 1892 in Avenel, Victoria, to James and Elizabeth Chaplin. He was the first of three children. Chaplin’s father died suddenly in Wangaratta in 1898 and Elizabeth and her children moved to Naracoorte, South Australia, to be closer to family.

Chaplin initially attended school at Naracoorte, before moving to Menindie and finally Goolwa. After leaving school he began an apprenticeship as a shipwright in Goolwa. In 1909 his mother died and Chaplin moved to Adelaide, where he continued his apprenticeship with A. McFarlane & Son at Birkenhead. On completing his apprenticeship, he left to take up a job as an accountant with the Walkerville Brewing Company.

Chaplin became a well-known sportsman in South Australia. He played cricket for the Port Adelaide Cricket Club and football for the Port Adelaide Magpies. In 1914 Chaplin was a member of Port Adelaide’s premiership-winning team, which went through the season undefeated. The team also went on to defeat Victorian Football League premiers Carlton to become Australian Champions. The 1914 team would later become known as “The Invincibles”.

Chaplin enlisted for service in the AIF at Keswick Barracks on 11 May 1915. After his initial training he was posted to the 8th reinforcements to the 12th Battalion. In late August he embarked from Outer Harbour, Adelaide, aboard the transport ship Morea.

In Egypt Chaplin underwent further training before sailing for Lemnos in late October. There he contracted influenza and was hospitalised. After recovering he was taken on strength of the 3rd Brigade’s details section. He was not sent to Gallipoli, and with the withdrawal of Australian troops the following month was returned to Egypt.

Chaplin was transferred to the newly formed 52nd Battalion in March 1916 as part of the AIF’s expansion to five divisions. By May he had been promoted to lance sergeant, and in June he sailed with his battalion for France and the Western Front. By the end of the month the 52nd was occupying trenches near Petillion in the Nursery Sector.

In July Chaplin was promoted to sergeant, and by the end of the month the battalion moved south towards Pozières. In late August Chaplin’s brother, George, joined him in the battalion, and in September they were in the front line near Mouquet Farm.

In the early hours of 3 September, as part of a wider operation to capture the farm, the 52nd Battalion launched its attack. It was quickly decimated, and two companies ceased to exist as effective fighting units. Chaplin was seen to fall, grievously wounded, during the advance, and was not seen again. His brother was seriously wounded and was invalided back to Australia in 1917.

Following an investigation, Chaplin was officially listed as having been killed in action on 4 September 1916. Following the end of the war his name was listed on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War, and a photograph of Albert and George is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant Albert Reginald Victor Chaplin, and all those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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