The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (560) Lance Corporal Reuben Rose, 43rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.28
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 28 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 Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

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 (560) Lance Corporal Reuben Rose, 43rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

560 Lance Corporal Reuben Rose, 43rd Battalion, AIF
KIA 26 August 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 28 January 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Reuben Charles Rose, who was killed while fighting in France during the First World War.

Reuben Rose was born in 1895, one of nine children of Reuben and Isabella Rose of Moonta Mines in South Australia. After attending East Moonta Public School, he worked as an assistant assayer at the Wallaroo Mines and then the Devon Concentrating Plant. He was involved in a wide array of community activities, including parading part-time with the 81st (Wakefield) Infantry Regiment, and singing with the Moonta Mines Male Voice Choir. He was appointed secretary of both the East Moonta Football Club and the East Moonta South Sunday School. For those who knew him in the years before the war, Reuben Rose was “looked upon as the life of the party”.

Rose enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1916, and after several months of training he embarked as an original member of the 43rd Battalion. After some time spent training in England, he arrived on the Western Front in November 1916.

The 43rd Battalion filed into the trenches for the first time outside the town of Armentières and spent the following months patrolling and trench raiding. Mustered into his platoon’s Lewis gun section, Rose participated in his first major action at Messines on 6 June 1917, and later fought at Broodseinde and Passchendaele during the Third Battle of Ypres.

In February 1918 the fighting on the Western Front had become critical. German troops had launched a major offensive on the Somme which
succeeded in breaking the stalemate of trench warfare and overrunning parts of the British lines. They were aiming for the city of Amiens in the hope of splitting the British and French armies on the Somme River. The 43rd Battalion was rushed south to defend Amiens.

The German offensive ended in April, and British and dominion troops prepared to deliver their own counter-offensive. On 8 August 1918 Australian troops, including the 43rd Battalion, spearheaded the assault that succeeded in breaking through German lines. It became known as the “black day of the German army”. During this action Lance Corporal Rose outflanked and rushed an enemy machine-gun position. Engaging the enemy at close quarters with his Lewis gun, he single-handedly silenced the position, allowing his section to continue their advance. For his “bravery and determination to duty” he was awarded the Military Medal.

The 43rd Battalion continued fighting along the Somme River into German-occupied territory. On 26 August 1918 it occupied a hill that overlooked the village of Suzanne. Platoons from C Company attacked that afternoon, drawing German machine-gun and artillery fire as they advanced. This short, sharp, and successful action resulted in victory, and the Australians took Suzanne. Despite this, Reuben Rose was killed in the attack when a German artillery shell landed among his Lewis gun team. He was 23 years old.

He was buried with three other men in a nearby shell hole overlooking Suzanne, but his grave was lost in the fighting. It is likely that his body was recovered by a war grave registration unit that operated in the area, and reburied in the nearby Assevillers New British Cemetery.

Reuben Rose is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, among 10,737 Australian troops killed in France who have no known grave. His grieving family inserted the following epitaph in the local newspaper shortly after his death:
At the heavenly gate he’ll meet us,
With the same sweet loving smile.
For we are only parted
Just for this little while.

Reuben Rose 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 Lance Corporal Reuben Rose, 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 (560) Lance Corporal Reuben Rose, 43rd Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)