The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (10831) Sapper Edmund Abberton, 3rd Aust. Div. Signals Company, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: United Kingdom, England, Greater London, Hillingdon, Harefield
Accession Number PAFU2015/335.01
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 5 August 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (10831) Sapper Edmund Abberton, 3rd Aust. Div. Signals Company, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

10831 Sapper Edmund Abberton, 3rd Aust. Div. Signals Company, AIF
DOD 6 November 1918
Photograph: DAX1362

Story delivered 5 August 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sapper Edmund Abberton.

Edmund Abberton was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs Michael Abberton. He was born in Manchester, England, and educated at the Minster Gorton school. When he was 14 his family migrated to Western Australia and he began training to become a telegraph operator.

In January 1916 Edmund enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, aged 18. His mother would later proudly claim that he was one of six brothers to serve in the First World War. Because of his experience as a telegraphist, he was allotted to the 3rd Division Signalling Company.

The 3rd Division was formed in Australia in early 1916, in contrast to the 4th and 5th Australian Divisions, which were formed in Egypt using some of the men evacuated from Gallipoli. Under the command of Major General John Monash, the 3rd Division underwent intensive training in Australia before being sent to England for service on the Western Front.

Sapper Abberton left Melbourne with the 3rd Division Signally Company on the troopship Ascanius on 27 May 1916. He reached the battlefields of France late in 1916. Late in 1917 he was granted a period of leave to England.

Little else is known of his war service. The divisional signalling company was involved in all manner of tasks, including the maintenance of communications both wired and wireless. The men of the company were generally highly skilled and under pressure to maintain battlefield communication, which was absolutely critical to success. Abberton served in this capacity without blemish on his record from the time of his enlistment to his final leave.

In October 1918 Sapper Abberton was granted another period of leave to England. Within days he fell sick with influenza. He was sent to the No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital at Harefield on the outskirts of London, but shortly afterwards his influenza developed into pneumonia. Edmund Abberton died five days before the Armistice and was buried with full military honours in the local cemetery. He was 20 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. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection. Abberton can be seen in the second row, fourth from the left.

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

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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