The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Second Lieutenant Herbert James Hammond, 48th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2016.2.164
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 12 June 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

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 Michael Kelly, the story for this day was on Second Lieutenant Herbert James Hammond, 48th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

Second Lieutenant Herbert Hammond, 48th Battalion, AIF
KIA 11 April 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 12 June 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Herbert James Hammond, who was killed while fighting in France during the First World War.

Herbert Hammond was born in 1876, one of eight children of Charles and Eliza Hammond of Port Lincoln in South Australia. He attended Port Lincoln State School and Glenelg Grammar, and later worked as a surveyor chainman in Hyde Park, Adelaide, before enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force in September 1915.

Not long after he was commissioned as a second lieutenant, Hammond met Ethel Lush, a tailor from London, whom he married in January 1916. After several short months together, Hammond sailed for England with a reinforcement group for the 48th Battalion in July 1916, bound for the training camps in England. He served for some time as the adjutant of the 12th Training Battalion on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, and embarked for France to join his battalion as it rested in the village of Eaucourt near Bapaume in March 1917.

Hammond arrived on the Western Front at a critical stage of the fighting. The Germans had recently abandoned their winter positions held throughout the Battle of the Somme and withdrawn to the formidable Hindenburg Line, some 50 kilometres to the east. Throughout February and March the Australians followed up on the German withdrawal and liberated towns and villages which had been under German occupation since the start of the war. The 48th Battalion took part in the advance, skirmishing with German rear-guards as it went. The Australians re-established contact with German troops near the village of Bullecourt, where on 11 April 1917 the 48th Battalion formed part of the 4th Division’s attack on the Hindenburg Line.

The battalion suffered exceptionally heavy casualties in what was a costly and unsuccessful action. Among them was Second Lieutenant Hammond, who was listed as missing in the days after the battle. According to eyewitnesses, Hammond was last seen lying wounded in a shell hole in an area raked with German machine-gun fire, and some claimed to have seen him killed by German artillery. Several months later a court of inquiry determined that Hammond had been killed in action.

Aged 39 at the time of his death, Hammond’s body remained missing until a British war graves detachment unit discovered that German troops had buried him not far from where he fell. He was re-interred at Queant Road Cemetery at Buissy, where he rests today. On his headstone is the epitaph: “In loving memory of the beloved husband of E.K. Hammond.”

Herbert Hammond is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with 60,000 others from the First World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is just one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Herbert Hammond, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Second Lieutenant Herbert James Hammond, 48th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)