The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (7077) Private Howard Fraser Grant, 37th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme
Accession Number PAFU2015/478.01
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 28 November 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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (7077) Private Howard Fraser Grant, 37th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

7077 Private Howard Fraser Grant, 37th Battalion, AIF
KIA 9 September 1918
No photograph in collection


Story delivered 28 November 2015
Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Howard Fraser Grant.

Howard Grant was born in 1898 to Robert and Eliza Grant of Sydney, New South Wales. He was born in Albury and attended the local state school, later becoming a farm labourer at Milawa, in north-eastern Victoria.

Howard went to Chiltern to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1916 at the age of 18. He was sent to Melbourne, where he was re-examined and found fit for service. Within two months he was on a troopship bound for the United Kingdom.

Grant left Melbourne in November 1916, arriving in England the following January. He underwent a further period of training there before proceeding to France to join the 37th Battalion. Within a week of its arrival on the Western Front the battalion had occupied trenches in the miserable cold and wet environs of the front.

Shortly before the 37th Battalion’s first major operation at Messines, Grant was transferred the unit of Lieutenant Lubin James Robertson, a childhood friend of his from Milawa. Lubin wrote that during the battle at Messines and the operations of the 37th Battalion that followed Private Grant “proved himself as a fine young soldier”. Robertson later asked Grant to serve as his runner, and Grant accepted.

From that time, Robertson wrote, he and Grant were inseparable. They shared letters and news from home, and were never far apart. In August 1918 the two attended a corps training school. On 9 September the battalion had advanced to a position called Montigny Farm on the Somme. Late that afternoon Robertson’s men were deepening their trenches for protection when an artillery shell landed in their midst. Robertson heard it coming and called out for the men to get down. As he
took cover, Private Grant was struck in the forehead by a piece of the shell. He called out “Oh, mister …” before falling dead to the bottom of the trench.

Lieutenant Robertson, although wounded and gassed himself, gave orders for Grant’s personal effects to be carefully collected and sent home to Milawa, and for his body to be buried. Grant’s remains now rest in the Roisel Community Cemetery Extension. Robertson wrote to Grant’s family to say that he had been “very popular with the boys of my platoon … speaking for myself, I must say that I was very proud of Howard. We became very much attached to each other and his loss is felt deeply by me.”

Howard Grant, Lubin Robertson’s best mate, was 20 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 Private Howard Fraser Grant, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (7077) Private Howard Fraser Grant, 37th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)