The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1701) Private Frederick Matthew Kiss, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Mouquet Farm
Accession Number PAFU2015/502.01
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 December 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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (1701) Private Frederick Matthew Kiss, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

1701 Private Frederick Matthew Kiss, 50th Battalion, AIF
KIA 16 August 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 12 December 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Frederick Matthew Kiss.

Fred Kiss was born on 13 July 1889 to Thomas and Honora Kiss of Maffra, Victoria. Thomas Kiss was a tall, thin man with a bad stutter and red hair. He ran the Macalister Hotel in Maffra, and his family was often seen in and around the bar. In 1896 Fred’s eldest brother Ernest died of heart disease at the age of 25. Fred attended the local school, and at some point moved to South Australia, where he took up work as a barman for Mr Piper at the Bridgeport Hotel in Murray Bridge. Piper later said:

Fred was one of the best fellows any employer could wish for. Honest, conscientious and industrious. His word was his bond, and his actions were always clean cut.

Kiss left his position at the Bridgeport Hotel to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force in March 1916. After a short period of training in Australia he was sent to Egypt, where he was posted to the newly formed 50th Battalion. The battalion had been formed following the evacuation from Gallipoli, and Kiss was part of its second group of reinforcements. From Egypt he was sent to fight on the Western Front, and arrived in France in June 1916.

In early August the 50th Battalion entered the front line around the French village of Pozières. The village had been captured by the 1st Australian Division on 23 July, and the 2nd Australian Division had captured the strong German defensive lines to the north-east of the village. The 50th Battalion was ordered to attack north towards a fortified German position known as Mouquet Farm.

On 15 August 1916, having been in the front line for four days, the 50th Battalion attacked the German trenches. The men had been weakened by a day-long heavy artillery bombardment, and the attack failed. An
officer of the 50th Battalion later described his men as “deplorably knocked about”, and the battalion suffered heavy casualties. One of those men killed was Private Frederick Kiss. Little is known of the manner of his death, but it seems that he was buried near where he fell.

After the war the Imperial War Graves Commission was given the task of recovering the remains of allied soldiers from battlefield graves and re-interring them in formal cemeteries. It was not until 1929 that its
workers discovered the grave of Private Fred Kiss. He was re-interred in Serre Road Cemetery Number Two, near Beaumont Hamel. The recovered identity discs, wrist watch, and ring were sent to his closest living relative, his sister, who wrote to thank the members of the Imperial War Graves Commission “for the painful task they have endured”. Her brother died aged 27.

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 Frederick Matthew Kiss, 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 (1701) Private Frederick Matthew Kiss, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)