The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2131) Private John Dunlop, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.228
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 16 August 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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (2131) Private John Dunlop, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

2131 Private John Dunlop, 9th Battalion, AIF

DOW 5 July 1916

Story delivered 16 August 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private John Dunlop.

John Dunlop was born in Aghadowey, Londonderry, Northern Ireland in 1877. He attended Drogheda National School in Aghadowey, but little else is known of his early life. According to his sister, Sarah, he served in South Africa during the Boer War with the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards and reached the rank of sergeant major.

Dunlop immigrated to Australia in 1914 and was working as a farmer in Queensland when the First World War began. He enlisted in Brisbane on 31 March 1915, but made no mention of his previous service with the British army on his attestation papers.

After his initial training, Dunlop was allotted to the 6th reinforcements to the 9th Battalion. He embarked from Brisbane on the 12th of June aboard the transport ship Karoola, bound for Egypt.
After a brief stop he was sent to Gallipoli, where he arrived on 4 August. He was taken on strength of the 9th Battalion the same day. Though the August offensive began in the following days, the 9th Battalion played a defensive role in the southern sector of Anzac.

Because of the poor diet and unsanitary conditions on Gallipoli, Dunlop developed dysentery and was evacuated to Malta in September. His condition did not respond immediately and he was returned to Egypt.

By the time the men of the 9th Battalion returned to Egypt in early January 1916, Dunlop had recovered sufficiently to rejoin them.

At the end of March the 9th Battalion sailed for France, arriving at Marseilles in early April. The battalion went into the front line near Armentières for the first time in May. In June, a raiding party was organised by Captain Maurice Wilder Neligan for an attack on German positions at the Sugarloaf. Dunlop was one of those who volunteered for the raid.

Training was constant in the weeks leading up to the raid and nightly patrols in no–man’s land were conducted to familiarise the men with the ground at night.

Towards midnight on 1 July, the raiders, split into three parties, set out. Dunlop was amongst the bayonet men in the right flank party, and was badly wounded in his left leg soon after entering the German forward trench.

The raid lasted a matter of minutes and when the signal to retire was given, the Australians withdrew. Dunlop and a number of other wounded men were carried back to the Australian trenches, though several others had to be left behind due to the heavy German counter–attacks.

He was transferred to Number 10 Stationary Hospital at St Omer on 3 July, where his left leg was amputated. The combination of the wound and operation was too much for Dunlop, whose condition rapidly deteriorated. He died on 5 July. He was 39 years old.

Dunlop was laid to rest in the following day in the Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery.

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 Private John Dunlop,
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 (2131) Private John Dunlop, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)