The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2173) Private Valentine Frederick Idstein, 35th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.229
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 17 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 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 (2173) Private Valentine Frederick Idstein, 35th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2173 Private Valentine Frederick Idstein, 35th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
KIA 29 May 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Valentine Frederick Idstein.

Popularly known as “Val”, Valentine Frederick Idstein was born on 20 March 1887 at Blandford, New South Wales, to the large family of John and Barbara Idstein.

John Idstein died in 1892 at the age of 54, when Valentine was 12 years old. The family remained in Blandford, and Valentine Idstein attended Blandford Public School before working as a dairy farmer.

Following the outbreak of the First World War, Idstein enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Newcastle on 15 May 1916.

He undertook initial training at the local depot battalion, and was allocated to the 3rd reinforcements to the 35th Battalion, embarking from Sydney aboard the transport ship Anchises in August, bound for England.

After arriving in England, Idstein spent a month in a training battalion before joining the 35th Battalion in early November. He was posted to 2 Platoon, A Company, and his personality quickly endeared him to his comrades.

Towards the end of November, the battalion transferred to France and entered the front line for the first time a few days later. The battalion continued to rotate in and out of the frontline throughout the bitter winter of 1916 and 1917.

In May 1917, the 35th Battalion moved into Belgium and by the end of the month were occupying frontline positions at “Dead Horse Corner” south of Messines.

On the evening of 29 May, Idstein, now part of a Lewis gun team, was on observation duty when an allied gas bombardment, meant for the Germans, began falling into the Australian trenches.

Idstein was already suffering from exposure to gas, when at around 8 pm, he was hit in the chest by a gas projectile and killed instantly. He was laid to rest in the Strand Military Cemetery near Ploegsteert the following day.

He was 30 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 Private Valentine Frederick Idstein, 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 (2173) Private Valentine Frederick Idstein, 35th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)