The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (762) Trooper Michael Edward Larkin, 8th Light Horse Regiment, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.109
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 19 April 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

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 , the story for this day was on (762) Trooper Michael Edward Larkin, 8th Light Horse Regiment, First World War.

Speech transcript

762 Trooper Michael Edward Larkin, 8th Light Horse Regiment
KIA 7 August 1915
Photograph: H06518

Story delivered 19 April 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Trooper Michael Edward Larkin.

Born to Michael and Catherine Larkin in Mitcham in Victoria, Michael Larkin was working as a labourer in Casterton in the state’s Western District when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 1 December 1914. The 25-year-old was taken into the 8th Light Horse Regiment, which – together with the 9th and 10th regiments – made up the 3rd Light Horse Brigade.

Trooper Larkin and his regiment sailed from Melbourne in February 1915 and arrived in Egypt the following month, where they undertook further training. As a reinforcement to the regiment, Larkin did not initially go to Anzac when the 3rd Light Horse Brigade was called upon in late May 1915. Instead, he arrived on the Gallipoli Peninsula in late July, as the British and Dominion troops were preparing for the August Offensive. The series of assaults were an all-out attempt to break the military deadlock on the Gallipoli peninsula, and its battles were the largest of the eight-month-long campaign.

On 7 August, the 8th regiment was assigned to attacking the Turkish positions at the Nek, a narrow bridge of land in a strategic position across the top of Monash Valley, between Russell's Top and Baby 700. The first wave of 150 Victorian light horsemen leapt from their trenches and into no man’s land at 4.30 am. They were mown down by machine-gun and concentrated rifle fire, with only a few reaching the enemy’s trenches (where they were also killed). Two minutes later, the second wave of men from the 8th regiment was sent into the killing zone and to the same fate. A short time later, and in spite of a plea to cancel the attack, the third line of soldiers, from the 10th Light Horse, went over the top and were also shot down. Cancellation was again suggested, but before a decision was made the right flank of the fourth line charged as a result of a misunderstanding, and the rest of the line followed. They too were mowed down by the Turkish fire.

Trooper Larkin was among those that charged the Nek in one of the first two waves, and he was killed in action that day. He was one of the 8th Light Horse regiment’s 154 fatal casualties of 234 total casualties. The 10th regiment suffered 138 casualties, 80 fatal.

Larkin’s body was not recovered, and today his name is listed on the Lone Pine Memorial on Gallipoli.

Larkin had three other brothers that enlisted and served with the AIF. Andrew, a railway worker, joined up in Sydney just a day after Michael and served with the 1st Australian Field Artillery Brigade. He died of wounds in Belgium on the 22nd of July 1917.

Vincent Larkin enlisted in November 1916 and was initially assigned to the Camel Corps, but later transferred to the 4th Light Horse Machine Gun Squadron. He returned from the war. The eldest brother, John Larkin, enlisted in March 1918 and went to England, assigned to the 35th Battalion, but the war was over before he was called up to the front.

Michael Edward Larkin’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 Trooper Larkin who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Emma Campbell, Researcher, Military History Section

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