The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (854) Private Herbert Clarence Dalmain, 18th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.77
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 18 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 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (854) Private Herbert Clarence Dalmain, 18th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

854 Private Herbert Clarence Dalmain, 18th Battalion, AIF
KIA 22 August 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 18 March 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Herbert Clarence Dalmain.

Herbert Dalmain was born in 1893 in Coonabarabran, New South Wales, one of eight children of John and Susan Dalmain. He grew up in Gilgandra and attended the local school. When the First World War broke out he was working as a farm labourer.

Dalmain enlisted on 19 February 1915 at Liverpool and was posted to C Company of the newly formed 18th Battalion. After several months of training he embarked with the battalion in June aboard the transport ship Ceramic, bound for Egypt.

The 18th Battalion spent several weeks in Egypt before sailing to Lemnos and then Gallipoli, arriving in mid-August. The men went straight into positions at Rest Gully.

In the pre-dawn darkness of 22 August the 18th Battalion made its way to the trenches below Hill 60. It was here that the commanding officer was told to order his battalion to charge with “bomb and bayonet only”. He responded that his battalion had no bombs, but was told only that “they must do the best that was possible without them”.

The attack began at around 5 am. As each company went forward, Turkish rifle and machine-gun fire got heavier. When Dalmain went over the top, he was next to his mate, Signaller William Simmons, who later reported that Dalmain was “hit when about ten yards” from the Turkish trenches.

The survivors of the 18th Battalion were soon forced to retire from the Turkish trenches, and on the way back Simmons saw Dalmain lying on the ground, bleeding from a head wound. He called to his friend but got no response. The battalion suffered almost 50 per cent casualties, and Dalmain was one of around 190 men of the battalion killed that day. He was 22 years old.

Many bodies near the Turkish positions were unable to be recovered. As a matter of hygiene, Turkish soldiers later set fire to the undergrowth, incinerating both the dead and the wounded in no man’s land.

Dalmain’s name is listed on the Lone Pine Memorial, which bears the names of those British and Commonwealth troops who died on Gallipoli but have no known grave.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with around 60,000 others from 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 Herbert Clarence Dalmain, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (854) Private Herbert Clarence Dalmain, 18th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)