The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1673) Lance Corporal Albert Henry Bewley, 45th Battalion, AIF. First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.158
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 07 June 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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (1673) Lance Corporal Albert Henry Bewley, 45th Battalion, AIF. First World War.

Speech transcript

1673 Lance Corporal Albert Henry Bewley, 45th Battalion, AIF
KIA 7 June 1917
Photograph: P06436.002

Story delivered 7 June 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Albert Henry Bewley.

Fondly known as “Jack”, Albert Bewley was born in 1879 in Blackney Creek, New South Wales, to the large family of William and Caroline Bewley. He attended Mullengrove Public School before going on to work as a labourer in the Cowra district.

Albert Bewley enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in August 1915, travelling to the enlistment office in Lithgow with his nephew, Sidney. The pair joined together, saying they were brothers in the hope they would be able to stay together. Albert was 36 years old and Sidney 21. They left Australia together in December 1915 with reinforcements to the 30th Battalion.

Albert and Sidney Bewley arrived in Egypt in January 1916. Almost immediately both were hospitalised with the mumps. During this period of time the AIF was undergoing a period of expansion and reorganisation. When Albert was discharged from hospital in March, he was transferred to the 45th Battalion. When Sidney left hospital he remained with the 30th Battalion, and the two never served together again.

The 45th Battalion arrived in France to fight on the Western Front in June 1916. Two months later it entered the front line near the French village of Pozières. On 8 August Private Albert Bewley suffered wounds to his back and spine, and was evacuated to hospital in England. His wounds were not serious, however, and he was fit enough to rejoin his battalion in the field a month later.

The 45th Battalion spent the bitterly cold winter of 1916 and 1917 rotating in and out of the front line. In March Bewley was promoted to
lance corporal. Later that month Sidney was killed in action during the occupation of Bapaume. He was 22 years old. Albert Bewley remained with the 45th Battalion, spending time training and holding the front line until its next major action at the Battle of Messines.

At 3.10 pm on 7 June 1917 the 45th Battalion launched its attack at Messines, meeting heavy opposition from concreted enemy strong points. Only some of its objectives were taken that day, others would be taken in the days to come. Lance Corporal Bewley led his section into the attack. While he succeeded in capturing his objectives, he was killed in action during the battle. His friend, 2nd Lieutenant McDiarmid, later wrote, “the pity of it all was the price – the loss of such a brave soldier, who had proved himself time and again”.

Bewley’s body was never recovered, and today he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing. He was 37 years old.

His 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 Lance Corporal Albert Henry Bewley, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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