The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (868) Private Frederick James Adams, 8th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, First World War.

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Anzac Area (Gallipoli), Anzac Beaches Area, Anzac Beach
Accession Number AWM2016.2.4
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 4 January 2016
Access Open
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 (868) Private Frederick James Adams, 8th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, First World War.

Speech transcript

868 Private Frederick James Adams, 8th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force
KIA 25 April 1915
Photograph: H05906

Story delivered 4 January 2015

Today we pay tribute to Private Frederick James Adams, who was killed on active service with the Australian Imperial Force in 1915.

Born in 1890 in Yorkshire, England, Fred Adams was the son of James Rawson Adams and Sarah Elizabeth Adams. The family moved to Australia when Frederick was two, and he attended Mildura Grammar School.

Fred went on to become a fruit-grower in the Riverland. He enlisted shortly after the outbreak of war, and was followed by his younger brother Rob, who was just 18. Fred left Australia with the original 8th Battalion, while Edgar followed two months later with the first reinforcements.

Both brothers landed at Anzac Cove with the 8th Battalion on 25 April 1915. Later that night Fred Adams was digging in through the rain with his mate Tom. Every now and then the Turks would conduct small-scale attacks against their position, and Adams and his mate were forced to put down their tools and start firing to keep the Turks in check. During one of these attacks Adams was shot through the head. Tom later wrote to his friend’s parents:
It will be some consolation to you to know that death must have been instantaneous and that he did not suffer, as he lay motionless and without a murmur. In fact, for a minute I thought he had fallen asleep.

Adams’s brother had become parted from him in the thick scrub of the peninsula, and was reported missing after a Turkish counter-attack. Curiously, a message in a bottle was found months later on a beach at Alexandria, seemingly written by Edgar. Signed E.R.C. Adams, AIF, the letter said that he had been taken prisoner about two miles from where he and Frederick had landed. His family held hopes that he was still alive as a prisoner of war, but a Red Cross report declared him “one of the many mysteries of that fatal landing at Gallipoli, when so many were killed and have never been found”. Despite a lack of official confirmation, a court of inquiry concluded in 1918 that Edgar Robert Colbeck Adams died on or around 25 April 1915 while a prisoner of war of the Turks.

Frederick Adams was buried on the side of a hill facing the Aegean Sea. His mate Tom wept as he was buried. After the war Adams was reinterred in Shell Green cemetery. He was 25 years old.

The names of Frederick and Edgar Adams are listed here on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from 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 Private Frederick James Adams, his brother Private Edgar Robert Colbeck Adams and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

Dr Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (868) Private Frederick James Adams, 8th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force, First World War. (video)