The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (176) Corporal Sutton Henry Ferrier, 10th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, First World War.

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number AWM2016.2.61
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 1 March 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 (176) Corporal Sutton Henry Ferrier, 10th Light Horse Regiment, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

176 Corporal Sutton Henry Ferrier, 10th Light Horse Regiment, AIF
DOW 9 September 1915
Photograph: H06012

Story delivered 1 March 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Sutton Henry Ferrier.

Sutton Ferrier was born in 1877 to John and Alicia Ferrier in Carapook in western Victoria. He attended schools in Carapook, Portland, and Casterton. At some point he moved with his family to Echuca, but as a young man he left Victoria and went to Western Australia. Little is known of his life there, but he was eventually able to buy land and worked as a contractor.

Ferrier enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in December 1914 and was posted to the 10th Light Horse Regiment. The regiment joined the 3rd Light Horse Brigade in Egypt in 1915, and went on to serve dismounted on Gallipoli. In July Ferrier was promoted to lance corporal, and around the same time his troop came under command of Lieutenant Hugo Throssell, who knew Ferrier as “Sid”, and became a good friend.

On 7 August the 3rd Light Horse Brigade attacked Turkish trenches at The Nek. The operation failed under unchecked Turkish machine-gun fire, and hundreds of light horsemen were killed or wounded.

Three weeks later the 10th Light Horse Regiment was again called on to attack the Turkish-held Hill 60 in what would become the last act of the August Offensive. Throssell’s troops were on the far right of the line and after an advance found themselves near the Turkish positions. They erected a barricade between them, and for the following two days fought to defend their position. Throssell later said “we were greatly out-numbered, and no words of mine could ever describe the splendid courage of our boys that night. They simply refused to budge.”

Although dozens of Australians came across to lend a hand, only four avoided death or wounds for any extended length of time. One of those was Corporal Ferrier, who stood behind the men working on the sand-
bag barriers, catching Turkish bombs as they were thrown over and throwing them back before they could explode. Throssell later wrote to Ferrier’s mother, saying:
"I recently read an account of an incident where an officer in France was given the VC for throwing a single German bomb out of a trench before it had time to explode. I saw your boy … perform this act repeatedly for many hours."

Three times the Turks attacked the Australian trench, and each time they were forced back by bombs and rifle-fire. Throssell was wounded twice, yet remained in command, his face covered in blood from wounds to his forehead. Around the time of the third attack Corporal Ferrier was shot. Despite his arm being almost severed and serious wounds in his side, Ferrier walked the 300 yards to the dressing station on his own. Some accounts record his desire to go straight back into battle after initial treatment, but instead he was taken to the beach by stretcher, where his arm was amputated.

Ferrier and Throssell ended up on the same hospital ship to England. The chaplain on board the ship recorded that Ferrier “was so bright and cheerful … we were all so fond of him”. Not long after, however, Ferrier contracted tetanus. Nothing could be done for him, and he died quietly on the night of the 8th of September 1915. He was buried at sea off the coast of Portugal. Throssell described his funeral to Mrs Ferrier:
"it was a nice little service, half a dozen of his wounded 10th Light Horse comrades being present, together with the Colonel of our regiment and myself … I have seen many brave men the last few months, and although there may be plenty of men just as brave, there has never been a braver man than your son."

Hugo Throssell was later awarded the Victoria Cross for his part in the action of 29 August 1915. He told Mrs Ferrier that despite not receiving any honour for his part, her son had, “in the eyes of his comrades … earned the Victoria Cross dozens of times over”.

Sutton Ferrier’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in 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 Corporal Sutton Henry Ferrier, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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