The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1088) Lance Corporal Robert Smibert Paris, 43rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Messines
Accession Number PAFU2015/431.01
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 21 October 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (1088) Lance Corporal Robert Smibert Paris, 43rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1088 Lance Corporal Robert Smibert Paris, 43rd Battalion, AIF
DOW 2 August 1917
No photograph in collection – supplied by family

Story delivered 21 October 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Robert Smibert Paris, who died during the First World War.

Robert Paris was born in 1885 in the South Australian town of Millicent to parents John and Mary. He was working as a farmer and grazier and had recently married Beatrice Hoffmeister in Port Adelaide when he enlisted in the 43rd Battalion in April 1916.

Robert left Australia on HMAT Afric that June and sailed straight to France. After arriving at Marseilles he went on to England, where he was promoted to lance corporal. Travelling back to France in November 1916, he was soon taken on for duties at his brigade headquarters, where he stayed until mid-June 1917.

Robert returned to the 43rd Battalion as its troops were recovering from their successful but costly attack at Messines, in the Flanders region of southern Belgium. Towards the end of July the battalion was preparing to attack German positions from the new front line, and on 31 July it went into action and successfully reached its objectives. In the face of a strong German counter-attack, the battalion was able to hold and consolidate their gains – though at the cost of some 250 casualties.

Robert was one of these casualties. He was admitted to the 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Station suffering a gunshot wound to the head. A few days later, on the 2nd of August, he died of his wounds.

Robert was buried in the Trois Arbres Cemetery at Steenwerck, near Armentières. This cemetery was in use throughout the war, and today commemorates some 1,700 Commonwealth servicemen who died on the battlefields of the surrounding region.

Robert Paris’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 Lance Corporal Robert Smibert Paris, 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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