The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3826) Private Arthur Humbert, 21st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Albert Bapaume Area, Pozieres Area, Pozieres
Accession Number AWM2016.2.176
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 24 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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 (3826) Private Arthur Humbert, 21st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

3826 Private Arthur Humbert, 21st Battalion, AIF
KIA 27 July 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 24 June 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Arthur Humbert.

Arthur Humbert was born in Sandhurst, Bendigo in 1889. He was the second son of George and Margaret Humbert’s six children. His father, George, and uncle, Frank, were pioneering settlers in the Prairie district of Victoria, and both held extensive tracts of land on which they raised cattle and wheat. The two were also involved in breeding racehorses and trotters. Arthur attended the local state school, and went on to work in farming like his father and uncle.

Arthur Humbert enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. He was posted to the 21st Battalion, and after a period of training in Australia left for service overseas on board the troopship Warialda. He was first sent to Egypt, and from there to France to fight on the Western Front, arriving in March 1916. In April the 21st Battalion became the first Australian battalion to commence active operations on the Western Front.

That July the 1st Australian Division captured the French village of Pozières, and a few days later the 2nd Division, of which the 21st Battalion was a part, was called on to capture strongly held German trenches to the north-east of the village. The 21st Battalion played a critical support role in this operation, carrying food, water, and ammunition to the front line under heavy artillery fire.

On 27 July Private Arthur Humbert had successfully carried his load into the front lines and was returning home under heavy shrapnel fire. His section commander, Lance Corporal Joyce, later recalled a big shell bursting over them:
"I saw that Arthur was hit very badly. Another boy and myself bandaged him up and carried him straight to the dressing station, but the doctor said that it was too late. Life was extinct. The poor chap was rendered unconscious, and died within five minutes."

Joyce also wrote to Arthur’s mother, saying:
"I cannot help thinking what a fine son you have been bereaved of, but, dear Mrs Humbert, many a good son fell in that awful battle, and many a heart will ache, but we all did our best."

When Humbert’s older brother George heard the news, he enlisted immediately. He served with the 60th Battalion, and was killed in action on 6 April 1918. He was buried in Crucifix Corner Cemetery, Villers-Bretonneux. Arthur Humbert, whose body was never recovered, is commemorated on the nearby Memorial to the Missing.

Private Humbert’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during 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 Arthur Humbert, 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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