The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2062) Private Charles Dunn, 42nd Battalion AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.5
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 5 January 2017
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 (2062) Private Charles Dunn, 42nd Battalion AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

2062 Private Charles Dunn, 42nd Battalion AIF
KIA 5 April 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 5 January 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Charles Dunn.

Charles Dunn was born on 10 March 1898 in Caterham Valley, Surrey, England, to William and Emily Dunn. He had a twin sister, Louisa, as well as an elder brother, William, an elder sister, Kate, and a younger brother, Herbert.

The family moved to Rugby in Warwickshire when Dunn was a young boy, and he was educated at Rugby Council School. When he was 15 the family immigrated to Australia and settled in Beaudesert, Queensland.

When the First World War began Dunn was working as a farmer on his family’s farm at Running Creek. He enlisted on 30 May 1916, just a few months after turning 18. After his initial training he was allotted to the 3rd reinforcements to the 42nd Battalion. He embarked from Brisbane that September aboard the transport ship Clan MacGillivray, bound for England.

After a period of further training Private Dunn sailed for France and joined the 42nd Battalion in late January 1917. He took part in his first major battle at Messines in June, and in actions at Warneton in late July, and Broodseinde and Poelcappelle in October. Here he was wounded in the thigh by shrapnel as the 42nd Battalion went into reserve. He was evacuated to Boulogne for treatment and returned to his battalion in late January 1918.

In February Dunn was given a two-week furlough to England, but he had returned to his battalion in Belgium when the German Spring Offensive began in late March, and the 42nd Battalion was rushed south to help stem the German advance. On 5 April, the battalion was under artillery fire in positions near Vaux when a German shell exploded near Dunn, killing him and two others. He was 20 years old.

Charles Dunn was buried at Heilly Station Cemetery at Mericourt– L’Abbe. His death hit his family hard, particularly his twin sister, Louisa, whose simple message in the Beaudesert Times spoke of her grief:

In proud and loving memory of my dear Brother, who was killed in France … What though in loving grief I sigh, For him beloved no longer nigh; Submissive would I still reply, Thy will be done.

Charles Dunn’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

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Charles Dunn, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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