The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (607) Gunner Charles Wilson Ragless, 5th Australian Division Trench Mortars, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Combles Area, Guillemont
Accession Number PAFU2015/436.01
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 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 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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (607) Gunner Charles Wilson Ragless, 5th Australian Division Trench Mortars, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

607 Gunner Charles Wilson Ragless, 5th Australian Division Trench Mortars
KIA 10 February 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 26 October 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Gunner Charles Wilson Ragless.

Charlie Ragless was born on 17 August 1885, the third son of William and Elizabeth Ragless. His family was one of the oldest pioneering families in South Australia. Charlie was born on Witchelina Station, a property near Farina in the far north of South Australia run by his father and uncles. William Ragless later took his family to a property near Blanchetown called Roonka, where Charlie Ragless grew up. He was sent to University College in Adelaide, and went on to become a pastoralist in the Flinders Ranges, running a station near Wirrabara [pron. Wirr – AB – ra].

Ragless enjoyed writing, and wrote small articles for the Murray Pioneer as its “Blanchetown correspondent”. He continued to do so when he moved to Wirrabara, describing in 1914 a large bushfire in the Flinders Ranges and efforts to put it out.

Ragless enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in early September 1914. After a short period of training in Australia, he left for overseas service with the first reinforcements to the 3rd Light Horse Regiment. He continued his role as correspondent for the Murray Pioneer from Egypt, writing that their voyage to Egypt was “splendid”, and that they had plenty of work to do looking after the 300 horses on board. As well as training, Ragless enjoyed visiting local museums, mosques, and the zoo in Cairo. He also climbed the Pyramid of Cheops, and left a copy of the Murray Pioneer under a corner of the very top stone.

Trooper Ragless arrived on Gallipoli on the 9th of May 1915. There he served with distinction, despite suffering a slight wound shortly after his arrival. In October he was Mentioned in Despatches for his good
scouting work, the collection of arms and ammunition abandoned on the battlefield, and locating enemy working parties. He remained on the peninsula until the evacuation in December.

Shortly after his return to Egypt, Ragless became seriously ill with a kidney condition, and a subsequent heart problem. He remained in hospitals in Egypt for several months before transferring to the artillery. He was sent to England in May 1916, and arrived in France to fight on the Western Front in September 1916.

Ragless continued to suffer from ill health, and spent more time in hospital. Once he was well enough he transferred to the 5th Division Australian Trench Mortar Battery and joined his new unit in the field for active service.

On 10 February 1917 the 5th Divison trench mortars were close to the front line near the French village of Guillemont [pron. Ghee – moh]. They had spent a number of days working on building gun positions and registering their guns on various targets. They came under regular fire and sustained a small number of casualties, one of which was Charlie Ragless.

Little is known of the exact manner of his death. He was buried at the nearby AIF Burial Ground at Grass Lane, Flers [pron. Fler]. He was 31 years old.

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.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Gunner Charles Wilson Ragless, 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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