The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4113) Private William Garvie, 24th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2016.2.363
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 29 December 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 Michael Kelly, the story for this day was on (4113) Private William Garvie, 24th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

4113 Private William Garvie, 24th Battalion, AIF
DOW 19 November 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 29 December 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private William Garvie, who died while fighting in France in the First World War. William Ernest Garvie was born in 1882, one of ten children of George and Jane Garvie of Miner’s Rest near Ballarat in Victoria. He grew up near Leongatha, attended school at Mardan South, and on the eve of the First World War was working as a well borer in the Mardan area.

Garvie enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Melbourne on 8 November 1915. After a period of training he left Australia the following March with a reinforcement group for the 24th Battalion, bound for England. He trained on the Salisbury Plains near Wiltshire before sailing for France in August 1916.

Garvie arrived on the Western Front at a time when the AIF was recovering from heavy losses suffered on the Somme. The 24th Battalion had fought its first major action at Pozières in July and had participated in the bitter fighting at Mouquet Farm throughout August. William joined the battalion as it came out of the trenches and spent a brief period in a relatively quiet part of the line near Ypres in Belgium.

The 24th Battalion returned to the Somme in November 1916 and filed into the line in the area between the villages of Flers and Gueudecourt. By this time the fighting on the Somme had petered out as British and German troops prepared to hold their respective positions throughout the winter. The battalion was also involved in light railway construction and road work to maintain the lines of supply and communication. Owing to casualties in other battalions, principally from illness, companies of the 24th Battalion were constantly being sent up to reinforce the Australian positions throughout November 1916.

A and C Company of the 24th Battalion were in the process of relieving B and D from holding the front line when German artillery shelled the Australian troops that congested the narrow communication trenches. On 18 November 1916 Garvie was wounded by shrapnel in the leg and thigh. He was evacuated to the 36th Casualty Clearance Station at nearby Heilly, where he became dangerously ill, most probably from blood poisoning. He was transported by hospital train to the No. 9 General Hospital at Rouen for evacuation to England, but died of his wounds the following day.

Aged 34 at the time of his death, Garvie was buried at the St Sever Cemetery Extension at Rouen. A small epitaph on his headstone reads:

“Deeply mourned by his sorrowing mother, brothers and sisters.”

William Garvie’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 but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private William Garvie, 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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