The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (378) Gunner Edward Morgan, 55th Siege Battery, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2016.2.306
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 1 November 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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (378) Gunner Edward Morgan, 55th Siege Battery, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

378 Gunner Edward Morgan, 55th Siege Battery
KIA 16 March 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 1 November 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Gunner Edward Armstrong Leslie Morgan, who was killed fighting in France in the First World War.

Edward Morgan was born in 1896, one of eight children of William and Dorothy Morgan of Eaglehawk in central Victoria. He attended school in the Eaglehawk area and worked as a butcher in Gunbower and Camberwell, where he was “well-known and highly respected by a large circle” and “very popular among his many comrades”. At school Morgan paraded with senior cadets as a part-time soldier with the 20th Battery, Australian Field Artillery, and the 68th Infantry Regiment. He became a full-time soldier when he joined the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery as a gunner at Fort Queenscliff near Geelong.

Morgan enlisted in the AIF in June 1915 and the following month sailed with the Siege Artillery Brigade for the training camps in England. He was mustered as a gunner and sent to France with the newly formed 55th Siege Battery. It was equipped with four 9.2-inch howitzers – the principal counter-battery artillery piece employed by the British Army on the Western Front. While most of the Australian gunners fought as members of the Australian Field Artillery, Edward was among a small number of specialist gunners whose skills and experience in operating the large-calibre siege guns were grouped under the 36th Heavy Artillery Group and operated under I ANZAC command. As the heavy hitters supporting the Australians on the Western Front, the 36th Heavy Artillery Group was among the first AIF units to file into the line in France.

After landing at Boulogne in late February 1916, the gunners of the 55th Siege Battery were billeted in a number of rear-area billets as they made their way up the line to the relatively quiet Armentières sector. On 15 March they stopped briefly in the village of Maroeuil, near Arras, where their billets were shelled by German artillery. Twenty minutes of accurate and sustained fire from the enemy field gun batteries killed two men and wounded another ten. Morgan was mortally wounded in the bombardment and died the next day. He was one of the first Australian soldiers to die through direct enemy action in the fighting on the Western Front.

Aged 21 at the time of his death, Edward Morgan was buried at nearby Mont-Saint-Éloi, and was later reinterred at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery at nearby Souchez. A year after his death, his grieving family published the following epitaph in the local newspaper: “He rose to responsive to his country’s call. He gave for his best, his life his all.”

Edward Morgan’s 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 Gunner Edward Morgan, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

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