|Asia: Philippines, Luzon, Lingayen Gulf
|Last Post film
Australian War Memorial
|Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
|5 January 2016
Second World War, 1939-1945
Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
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The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (S9335) Ordinary Seaman Neville Joseph Everson, HMAS Australia (II), Second World War.
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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (S9335) Ordinary Seaman Neville Joseph Everson, HMAS Australia (II), Second World War.Film order form
S9335 Ordinary Seaman Neville Joseph Everson, HMAS Australia (II)
KIA 5 January 1945
No photograph in collection
Story delivered 5 January 2016
Today we remember Ordinary Seaman Neville Joseph Everson and those members of HMAS Australia (II) killed while fighting to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation.
Known as “Nev” to his shipmates, Neville Everson was born on 16 November 1925 in Kempsey, on the mid-north coast of New South Wales. He was the son of Magnus and Olive Everson. Neville was 18 years old and a student when he enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy in June 1944. His father was also in the forces, serving in the army with the Volunteer Defence Corps.
Neville Everson was 180 centimetres tall with brown hair and blue eyes. He was initially posted as an ordinary seaman to HMAS Cerberus, the navy’s training establishment on Western Port Bay in Victoria. Five months later he was posted to the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (II).
By mid-1944 the Allies were preparing to return to the Philippines, and on 20 October American forces landed on Leyte Island. The next major phase in the campaign was the invasion, beginning on 9 January 1945, of Luzon Island in the Lingayen Gulf. The Japanese fiercely opposed every phase of the American offensive. In the Leyte Gulf Australia was hit by a Japanese suicide aircraft, killing 30 officers and ratings.
In January 1945 HMAS Australia was again in the thick of the action in battle of Lingayen Gulf. The heavy cruiser was hit five times over five days, killing another 44 men in total. At about 5.35 pm on 5 January, a Japanese kamikaze aircraft crashed on the port side of the upper deck amidships and exploded in a fireball. Twenty-five men were killed, with 30 wounded. Everson was among the dead. He was 19 years old.
Everson’s few personal effects were sent home to his family. Included in these was a letter dated 4 January 1945, reading:
We are on the eve of battle and I’m not afraid to die. I know what I would be dying for if I have to go … No, I’m not afraid of dying but I am afraid of it because I think it would hurt you all.
Neville Everson is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial in Britain. His is also remembered on the grave of his mother, Olive Everson who died in 1983. She is buried in the West Kempsey Cemetery. Neville Everson’s name is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 others from the Second World War.
This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Ordinary Seaman Neville Joseph Everson and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.
Dr Karl James
Historian, Military History Section
Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (S9335) Ordinary Seaman Neville Joseph Everson, HMAS Australia (II), Second World War. (video)