The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Bruce Moses Farquhar Sloss, 10th Australian Machine Gun Company, AIF, First World War

Place Europe: France
Accession Number PAFU2015/342.01
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 12 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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on Lieutenant Bruce Moses Farquhar Sloss, 10th Australian Machine Gun Company, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

Lieutenant Bruce Moses Farquhar Sloss, 10th Australian Machine Gun Company, AIF
KIA 4 January 1917
Photograph: P08519.001

Story delivered 12 August 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Bruce Moses Farquhar Sloss.

Bruce Sloss was born on 21 January 1889, the youngest of eight children of James and Christina Sloss of East Malvern, Victoria. He was a good student and went on to become an engineer. He was also a keen sportsman; he played cricket well, but excelled at Australian Rules Football. He was also an active member of the Malvern Presbyterian church, where he taught Sunday School classes and played for their football team.

In 1906 Sloss trained with the Essendon Football Club. Although he trained with them all season, he only played two games. The following season he was given only one game, and so he left Essendon and the Victorian Football League and went to play in the Victorian Football Association for Brighton. He quickly made a name for himself, and represented the association twice in games against South Australia.

In 1910 Sloss returned to the VFL, this time with South Melbourne. He was known as a brilliant footballer, with plenty of stamina and pace and an excellent kick, a man who could high mark with the best of them. He also represented the Victorian Football League in games against South Australia. In 1912 Sloss was named Champion of the Colony, the equivalent of the Brownlow Medal, awarded to the player voted best and fairest throughout the season.

In the years before the war Bruce Sloss became engaged to Gladys Hamilton. He was working on an invention to cut fruit for the jam-making industry, and though he was looking at producing it for the market, he left everything to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in
July 1915. Sloss quickly proved an able soldier and, after a number of promotions, was transferred to the 10th Machine Gun Company, where he received his commission.

South Melbourne Football Club was never far from Sloss’s mind. In late 1916 he wrote to the team’s secretary about a man he had come across in the AIF whom he felt could become a good footballer. Sloss wrote: “I have spoken to him, and if he gets back he has promised me he will join the South. But … it’s a secret between ourselves.”

Sloss continued to play sport while serving overseas. His company boasted two other league players, Clive Fergie of Fitzroy and Leslie Lee of Richmond, as well as several handy country players, and the unit’s team was reportedly undefeated. Sloss also captained a side in the Pioneer Exhibition Game in London. A photograph of him at the coin toss was published in the Sydney Referee. However, by the time the photograph was published Sloss had already been killed in action.

He had finally been sent for active service in France, and on 4 January 1917 he was at headquarters some miles behind the line. Coming back from the line, he had just reached the gate when someone called out to him. He went and spoke to them, but on his return to the gate a stray artillery shell hit the ground at his feet. He was killed instantly, and was buried in Armentières.

Bruce Sloss was 28 years old. He was considered “a fine stamp of a young man – good living, clever, and of a thoughtful kindly disposition”. He was long remembered in the South Melbourne football club, which kept letters from many of its serving members. In the 1940s club secretary Bert Howson paid tribute, saying, “Bruce was not only a footballer and a half, he was a man and a half.”

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during 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 Bruce Moses Farquhar Sloss, 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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