The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2867A) Private George Ronald Shaw, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Armentieres
Accession Number AWM2016.2.130
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 9 May 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 (2867A) Private George Ronald Shaw, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2867A Private George Ronald Shaw, 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 20 April 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 9 May 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private George Ronald Shaw.

George Shaw was born in 1892 to Thomas and Mary Shaw in Dalby, Queensland. He was brought up in the town and attended Dalby State School, later gaining employment as a contractor’s assistant. He was working in this role when the First World War began.

Shaw enlisted in Dalby on 26 July 1915, joining the 25th Battalion. He was transferred to Brisbane for initial training, embarking from Brisbane aboard the transport ship Seang Bee in October.

Arriving in Egypt in December, Shaw underwent several months of training in the desert sands. He wrote often to his family and complained that he was not receiving letters from home. At the end of February 1916 he was transferred to the 9th Battalion, and was posted to C Company. The battalion sailed for France at the end of March.

By the afternoon of 20 April the 9th Battalion was in reserve billets near Rouge-de-Bout, one mile behind the front line in the Armentières or “nursery” sector. Intermittent artillery fire was landing nearby, and tragedy struck when the battalion’s C Company billets were heavily shelled. One shell landed outside a canvas tent, wounding four, and as men went to assist, another shell landed among them, killing several and wounding others. A further shell hit the brick wall of a nearby billet, causing a further 47 casualties. C Company was decimated, suffering 50 men wounded and 25 killed, one of whom was Shaw. Several others would die from their wounds over the ensuing days.

Shaw and the other fallen men of C Company were laid to rest in the Rue-Du-Bacquerot (13th London) Graveyard at Laventie. He was 23 years old.

Soon after his death, Shaw’s mother wrote to the army’s base records section requesting her son’s belongings and chiding them for the tardy delivery of mail from Australia. She wrote that while her son was in Egypt he had not received his mail:

"he complained of getting no letters from us who had written every week. You know it is not nice for the boys who have given their lives for their king and country to be thus deprived of home letters which they are continually looking for."

Private Shaw’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from 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 George Ronald Shaw, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2867A) Private George Ronald Shaw, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)