The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1729) Lance Corporal Claude Vivian Radford, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Messines, Messines Ridge
Accession Number AWM2016.2.48
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 17 February 2016
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (1729) Lance Corporal Claude Vivian Radford, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1729 Lance Corporal Claude Vivian Radford, 50th Battalion, AIF
KIA 10 June 1917
Photograph: P09291.005

Story delivered 17 February 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Claude Vivian Radford.

Claude Radford was born on 25 May 1891 to Hermon and Mary Jane Radford of Angaston in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. Hermon Radford had migrated to Australia some 50 years earlier and settled in the largely German district of the Barossa Valley. Claude was one of many siblings, and his father was in his late sixties when he was born. Hermon Radford died in 1898, when Claude was around seven.

Radford attended the local school in Angaston and was a keen sportsman, playing football, tennis, and cricket. He became a carpenter, and was known to ride his bike for long distances through the Barossa Valley to get to jobs. Around the start of 1914 he moved to take up an irrigation block at Curlwaa in New South Wales.

Radford returned to Adelaide in early 1916 to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. After a short period of training in Australia he was sent to Egypt, where the AIF was undergoing a period of reorganisation and training following the evacuation from Gallipoli. There Radford was posted to the newly formed 50th Battalion and went with them to France, where he arrived in June 1916. At some point he became a member of a machine-gun section.

Shortly after arriving on the Western Front the 50th Battalion participated in the fierce fighting around Mouquet Farm, near the French village of Pozières. Under heavy shell-fire the battalion conducted attack after attack in an attempt to advance the line. During this period, like many others in the 50th Battalion, Radford was evacuated with shell shock and sent to hospital to recover. He soon re-joined his battalion.

In early 1917 the 50th Battalion participated in an operation to capture the village of Noreuil. It encountered heavy opposition and suffered heavy casualties, but by the following day the town was in Australian hands. Shortly after this battle Radford was promoted to lance corporal.

Two months later Radford was with the 50th Battalion as it attacked the Messines Ridge. The operation was successful, and three days later the battalion was ordered to renew the offensive. The men were held up in some places by barbed-wire defences, and the battalion suffered more than 60 casualties.

One of those killed was Lance Corporal Claude Radford. Little is known of the manner of his death. His body was never recovered, and today he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing in Ypres, Belgium. He was 26 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. 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 Lance Corporal Claude Vivian Radford, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1729) Lance Corporal Claude Vivian Radford, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)