The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (841) Sergeant John Newton Davies, 14th Australian Field Artillery Brigade, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme
Accession Number AWM2016.2.190
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 8 July 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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (841) Sergeant John Newton Davies, 14th Australian Field Artillery Brigade, First World War.

Speech transcript

841 Sergeant John Newton Davies, 14th Australian Field Artillery Brigade
KIA 11 March 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 8 July 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sergeant John Newton Davies.

John Davies was born on 11 January 1895 to William and Harriet Davies of Adelaide. His father was a well-established land agent. John attended Unley State School and was top in the state in 1908, before spending four years at Prince Alfred College. He passed his exams with honours and was a keen participant in athletic competitions, winning a number of school sport prizes. He was also wicketkeeper for the college cricket team. Davies was a member of the cadet corps at college, and won two gold medals for shooting, one for being the best marksman in South Australia. After leaving college he worked for the Bank of Adelaide while studying English literature at university at night.

Davies was one of four brothers to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force, doing so in November 1915. He was posted to the 9th Light Horse Regiment and promoted to corporal. He spent a little over three months at Gallipoli, although he spent part of that time in hospital with dysentery. Eventually he became so ill that he was evacuated to London, and did not return to his regiment until after the evacuation of the peninsula.

In April 1916, while still in Egypt, Davies transferred to the artillery, and nearly two months later left for France with his new unit. He was soon transferred to the 25th Field Artillery Brigade, and served there for the rest of the year. In August 1916 John’s brother George, serving with the 27th Battalion, died of wounds received near the French village of Pozières.

In January 1917 the newly promoted Sergeant Davies was transferred to the 14th Field Artillery Brigade. In March the brigade was operating on the Somme, firing against German-controlled roads and communication trenches. On 11 March the Australians were heavily shelled, and Sergeant John Davies was one of three men killed in the bombardment. He was buried nearby, aged 22.

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.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Sergeant John Newton Davies, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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