The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (5611) Private Robert William Jones, 26th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Warlencourt
Accession Number PAFU2015/480.01
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 30 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

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 (5611) Private Robert William Jones, 26th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

5611 Private Robert William Jones, 26th Battalion, AIF
KIA 2 March 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 30 November 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Robert William Jones.

Robert Jones was born in Bothwell, Tasmania, around 1881. In 1907 he married, and he and his wife, Angela, settled in Tasmania. However, in 1913 Jones moved to Queensland and became a shift boss at the copper works of the Mount Morgan Gold Mining Company. His marriage had soured and he left Angela behind, although they never divorced, but on 13 December 1913 he married Elsie Parsons, and went on to have two daughters with her in Queensland. Jones was a tall man for his time, standing at six-foot-one. He was heavy-set and powerful looking.

Jones enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Mount Morgan on 11 April 1916. He left Brisbane the following September and arrived in England in November 1916. After a period of training in England he was sent to France to fight on the Western Front with the 26th Battalion. He joined them in the field in February 1917.

At this time the battalion was ere rotating in and out of the front line, not far from the French village of Pozières. This had been the site of fierce fighting the year before.

On 2 March 1917 the 26th Battalion attacked Malt Trench near the town of Warlencourt. Three companies attacked in cooperation with parts of the 27th Battalion to their right. As the men went over the top they encountered large swathes of German barbed wire that had not been cut by the artillery barrage. The men spent a considerable amount of time in the open forcing a way through. They finally gained their objective after several attempts, suffering significant casualties.

One of those killed was Private Robert Jones. He was found lying dead in no man’s land by Lance Corporal Marlow. Marlow examined his body, but could find no marks on him. He had apparently been killed by the concussion of a large artillery shell. He was buried in the field, but his grave has since been lost and he is now commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial to the Missing. He had been on the battlefield for less than a month.

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 Robert William Jones, 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 (5611) Private Robert William Jones, 26th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)