The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn Adams, 5th Battalion (Infantry) seconded to 67th Squadron Australian Flying Corps, First World War

Places
Accession Number PAFU2015/246.01
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 26 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 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 Joanne Smedley, the story for this day was on Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn Adams, 5th Battalion (Infantry) seconded to 67th Squadron Australian Flying Corps, First World War.

Speech transcript

Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn Adams, 5th Battalion (Infantry) seconded to 67th Squadron Australian Flying Corps
Accidentally killed 19 February 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 26 June 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn Adams, who died during the First World War.

Athol Adams was born in 1894 in South Yarra, Melbourne, the youngest of four boys, to parents Alexander and Adah. Athol attended Melbourne Grammar School, where he excelled in sports, participated in the school cadets, and became a prefect. Athol was working as a clerk in a shipping company when he enlisted in the AIF in August 1914, just a few weeks after the declaration of war.

Athol was assigned to the 5th battalion, and left Australia in the first convoy on HMAT Orvieto. The battalion arrived in Egypt in December and marched to their camp, just outside Cairo. After several months of training and drill, during which Athol was promoted to second lieutenant, the battalion left Egypt in early April 1915, bound for the Gallipoli peninsula.

The 5th battalion was part of the second wave of troops to land on Gallipoli on 25 April. Athol was wounded during the landings, and was also promoted to lieutenant. He re-joined his battalion a few days later, just before the 5th battalion, as part of the 2nd brigade, was transferred to Cape Helles to take part in an attack against the Turkish stronghold of Krithia. This disastrous attack resulted in many casualties, including Athol. He was wounded in the thigh and forearm, evacuated to the hospital ship Guilford Castle, and sent to Alexandria for extended medical treatment.

Athol returned to the peninsula in June, but was evacuated to Egypt with enteritis in September. By the time he was well enough to re-join his battalion it had withdrawn from Gallipoli.

Athol was briefly seconded to the Imperial Camel Corps in early 1916, but in June was transferred to No. 1 Squadron, Australian Flying Corps. In September he qualified as an observer, and a few months later was promoted to flying officer. Towards the end of the year Athol spent some time at the School of Military Aeronautics in Egypt, receiving instruction in aviation.

Military aviation was still in its infancy during the First World War, and the work performed by pilots, observers and air mechanics was often dangerous. On 19 February 1917 Athol was involved in an aeroplane accident that left him with a compound fracture of the skull. He was admitted to the 17th General Hospital in Alexandria, but died soon after as a result of his injuries. He was 22 years old. Athol was buried the next day by Chaplain Walter Harding at the Hadra War Memorial Cemetery in Alexandria, where he rests today.

Athol Adams’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. His photograph 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 Lieutenant Athol Gladwyn Adams, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Kate Ariotti
Historian, Military History Section

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