The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1845) Private Samuel Macfarlane, 13th Battalion, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2016.2.305
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 31 October 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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (1845) Private Samuel Macfarlane, 13th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

1845 Private Samuel Macfarlane, 13th Battalion
DOW 20 August 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 31 October 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Samuel James Dickson Macfarlane, who died while serving in the First World War.

Samuel Macfarlane was born in 1894, the youngest of five children of James and Sarah Macfarlane of Potrush, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. He attended the Coleraine Academical Institution, and was an active member of the Ulster Volunteer Force before serving as an apprentice officer in the Mercantile Marine. While in port in Sydney in August 1914, Macfarlane enlisted in the Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force. Macfarlane saw service in German New Guinea with the 1st Battalion during a brief two-week campaign before returning to Sydney, where he was discharged in January 1915.

Almost immediately, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. After training at the Liverpool Military Camp, he embarked for Egypt with a reinforcement group for the 13th Battalion. By this time Australian and New Zealand troops had landed on Gallipoli as part of a wider allied effort to gain control of the Dardanelles and knock Ottoman Turkey out of the war. They had established a beach head, which they defended in the heights above Ari Burnu. Macfarlane landed on Gallipoli in July 1915, just as the 13th Battalion was relieved from the forward positions at Quinn’s Post.

In August the 13th Battalion, along with the rest of the Australian 4th Brigade, participated in the ill-fated assault on the approaches to Hill 971, in the main thrust of the August Offensive at Anzac. After a gruelling night march, during which the brigade got lost, it was engaged by Turkish machine-guns well short of its objective, and dug in on a ridgeline overlooking a position known as Australian Valley. Under the blazing sun, with no water and little sleep, the men of the 13th Battalion spent several days repelling wave after wave of Turkish troops.

On 10 August 1915 Macfarlane received a gunshot wound to his head and was evacuated onto a hospital ship, which travelled first to Egypt, and then Malta. His condition gradually deteriorated, and on 20 August, before the ship had reached Valetta, he succumbed to his wounds.

Aged 21 at the time of his death, Samuel Macfarlane was buried at sea, and is today commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial at Anzac Cove alongside 5,000 Australian and New Zealand troops who died during the fighting on Gallipoli and who have no known grave.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.

This is just one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Samuel Macfarlane, 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 (1845) Private Samuel Macfarlane, 13th Battalion, First World War. (video)