The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1803)Lieutenant Allan Montrose MacDiarmid, 45th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.61
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 2 March 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 Sharon Bown, the story for this day was on (1803)Lieutenant Allan Montrose MacDiarmid, 45th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

Lieutenant Allan Montrose MacDiarmid, 45th Battalion, AIF
KIA 5 April 1918
Photograph: P05868.002

Story delivered 2 March 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lieutenant Allan Montrose MacDiarmid.

Allan MacDiarmid was born in Sydney in 1891, the eldest son of James and Margaret MacDiarmid of Croydon. After leaving school he became an accountant and auditor. He spent most of his working life working for the accountant firm Thomas Davis, Sheedy and Co, and became the managing clerk at the Inverell branch.

MacDiarmid enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in early September 1915. A few weeks later, on 17 November 1915, he married Rheta Isobel Scott of Marrickville, and a month later he left Sydney Harbour on board the troopship Berrima, bound for the Middle East.

MacDiarmid was first posted to the 30th Battalion, but after his arrival in Egypt he was transferred to the newly formed 45th Battalion. He continued training in Egypt and proved an able soldier, undergoing a series of promotions. Shortly after his arrival in France he was promoted to sergeant, and in February 1917 he travelled to Trinity College in Cambridge to undertake an officers training course. There he gained particular distinction in his knowledge of military tactics, and received his commission on graduation in June 1917.

In August 1917 the 45th Battalion was near Messines Ridge in Belgium to provide working parties for carrying material forward and digging and improving reserve trenches. During this period Lieutenant MacDiarmid was wounded, but refused evacuation and remained on duty. The battalion continued to conduct operations in Belgium throughout the year, and spent the winter rotating in and out of the front line.

On 5 April 1918 the 45th Battalion was drawn into the fight to stop the German advance around the French village of Dernancourt. The battalion’s war diary recorded that the men went forward “in excellent sprits and anxious for the work before them”, and through their efforts and those of their outnumbered compatriots the German attack was stopped. The 45th Battalion suffered heavy casualties from machine-gun fire during the operation, and one of those killed was Lieutenant Allan MacDiarmid.

Although MacDiarmid’s name appeared on a large memorial cross erected by the 45th Battalion in the Millencourt Communal Cemetery, his body was lost during the battle and never recovered. Today he is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux, listing those who died in the fighting but have no known grave.

His name is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

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

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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