The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (H2336) Able Seaman Alan Walter Lade, HMAS Australia (II), Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.122
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 02 May 2017
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Charas may, the story for this day was on

Speech transcript

H2336 Able Seaman Alan Walter Lade, HMAS Australia (II), panel 1
KIA 6 January 1945

Story delivered 2 May 2017

Today we remember Able Seaman Alan Walter Lade and those of HMAS Australia (II) who were killed in January 1945 while fighting to liberate the Philippines from Japanese occupation.

Alan Lade was born on 5 October 1924 in Scottsdale, in north-east Tasmania, the son of Francis and Sylvia Lade. Francis Lade was a farmer and was serving part-time as a trooper in the Militia’s 22nd Light Horse Regiment at the time of Alan’s birth. Following the outbreak of the war in the Pacific in May 1942, Francis was called up for the Militia.

Five months later, a week after his 18th birthday, Alan Lade enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy. He was five foot three and a quarter inches tall, with black hair, brown eyes, and a clear completion.

In early November 1942 Lade was sent as an ordinary seaman to the navy’s training establishment HMAS Cerberus on Western Port Bay, south of Melbourne. In February the following year he was posted to the patrol craft HMAS Yandra conducting anti-submarine patrols and escort duties along Australia’s eastern coast and as far north as New Guinea.

In August 1943 Lade was posted to the sloop HMAS Warrego (II), which was then undergoing a refit. On 14 October he was rated acting able
seaman as the sloop resumed escort duties between Australia and New Guinea.

In March 1944 Lade was posted to the RAN’s anti-submarine school HMAS Rushcutter, at Rushcutter Bay in Sydney, to attend a radar course. He ultimately failed the course and towards the end of May he returned to Yandra before being posted to the heavy cruiser HMAS Australia (II) on 2 June.
The Australia, along with the heavy cruiser HMAS Shropshire, several destroyers and other vessels, formed the Australian squadron that was operating closely with the United States Navy as the joint Australian–American Task Force 74. The task force had earlier supported the American amphibious push through the Netherlands East Indies. By mid-1944, the Allies were preparing to return to the Philippines. On 20 October, American forces landed on the island of Leyte in the Philippines. The next major phase in the campaign was the invasion of Luzon in Lingayen Gulf which began on 9 January 1945.

The Japanese fiercely opposed every phase of MacArthur’s offensive at sea, in the air, and on land. During the battle of Leyte Gulf, Australia was hit by a Japanese suicide aircraft on 21 October 1944, which killed 30 officers and ratings. In January 1945, during the battle of Lingayen Gulf, Australia was again in the thick of the action. The heavy cruiser was hit five times over five days, and another 44 men killed.

On 6 January Able Seaman Lade was acting as a “scratch” gun crew for a 4-inch gun, replacing men who had been killed or wounded in an attack a day earlier. His gun was in action when at about 5:45 pm a Japanese Val dive-bomber crashed between the 4-inch gun-mounts on the starboard side and exploded in a fireball. Fourteen men were killed, including Able Seaman Lade. He was 20 years old.

Writing to Sylvia Lade after Alan Lade’s death, Captain John Armstrong, Australia’s captain, tried to offer some solace for the loss of her son. “How young he must seem to have taken on a man’s responsibilities. He gave his life for his country and the freedom of the world and no man can do more.”

Alan Lade’s service medals are currently on display in the Memorial’s Second World War galleries. His name is also listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

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

Karl James
Historian, Military History Section

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