The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3474a) Private David Barr and (479) Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Lille, Fromelles
Accession Number AWM2016.2.201
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 19 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 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 (3474a) Private David Barr and (479) Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

3474a Private David Barr, 60th Battalion, AIF
KIA 19 July 1916
Photograph: H05659

479 Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion, AIF
DOW 31 August 1916
Photograph: H05658

Story delivered 19 July 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private David Barr and his brother Private Colin Campbell Barr.

David and Colin Bar were born in 1890 and 1896, respectively, in Richmond, Melbourne, to Robert and Maria Barr. They attended school in Hawthorn West, and Colin, who thought the world of his big brother, followed David into working for a tannery.

The brothers enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force together in August 1915. After a period of training in Australia they were sent to Egypt, arriving at a time when the AIF was undergoing expansion and reorganisation. As a result, the brothers were taken out of the 22nd Battalion, to which they had originally been posted, and placed in the 60th. They underwent further training before being sent to France to fight on the Western Front, arriving in late June 1916.

On 19 July the 60th Battalion participated in its first major operation on the Western Front at the town of Fromelles. The brothers turned to each other in the trench just as the attack began, and shook hands before climbing out over the parapet. The men came under heavy artillery, machine-gun, and rifle-fire as soon as they left the trenches, and the battalion ultimately suffered more than 750 casualties.

As David and Colin crossed no man’s land together they were both hit. Colin later wrote, “the worst part of it all [was] I never fired a shot at them”. As they were lying near each other, David told Colin to ask his father to forgive him for something done years before. He died shortly afterwards and his remains were never recovered. He was 25 years old.

Colin Barr had been hit in the back by shrapnel, and was sent to hospital in England with wounds to his chest and lungs. A regular visitor was Miss Bloxham of Kent, who came to try to cheer up the sick men. She wrote of visiting Barr: “he is only 19 and looks even younger … I thought him a very nice boy”. Barr often spoke with her about David, and was clearly devastated by his death.

One Wednesday Miss Bloxham arrived to find Barr’s condition had deteriorated. She wrote, “he didn’t know me, but he held my hand tightly and I hoped he might feel someone belonging to him was there”. Private Colin Barr died later that night, aged 19. He was buried in a cemetery near the hospital.

The names of Privates David and Colin Barr are listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 others from the First World War. Their photographs are 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 Private David Barr and Private Colin Barr, who gave their lives for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3474a) Private David Barr and (479) Private Colin Campbell Barr, 60th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)