The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1797a) Private Edward Bounds, 34th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.262
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 September 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 Chris Widenbar, the story for this day was on (1797a) Private Edward Bounds, 34th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1797a Private Edward Bounds, 34th Battalion, AIF
KIA 4 April 1918
Photograph: P07013.001

Story delivered 19 September 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Edward Bounds.

Edward John Bounds was born in 1892, one of 12 children of Thomas and Mary Bounds of the Newcastle suburb of Cooks Hill in New South Wales.

In the years before the war, Bounds worked on the railways as a carter and delivered milk to local businesses in Newcastle. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in Newcastle in April 1916 after the Wallabies Recruitment March had passed through town.

After several months training at Maitland Showground, Bounds embarked for England with a reinforcement group for the 34th Battalion in September 1916. At Lark Hill Camp on the Salisbury Plains, the 34th Battalion trained as part of the newly-raised 3rd Division under the command of Major General John Monash becoming one of the most highly-trained formations in the Australian Imperial Force.

The 34th Battalion sailed for France in December 1916, entering the trenches in the relatively quiet “Nursery Sector” near the town of Armentières, where units new to the Western Front were sent to acquire the skills of trench warfare. Over the following months, the battalion actively patrolled no man’s land and carried trench raids on German positions.

The battalion participated in its first major action on the Western Front at Messines, where on 7 June 1917 it succeeded in securing German positions after 19 underground mines were detonated beneath enemy positions. The night before the battle, Bounds was moving up the line through Ploegsteert Wood with his platoon when they were caught in a German gas bombardment. Bounds was evacuated through a number of aid posts and dressing stations suffering from gas poisoning. He spent
several weeks in hospital at Le Treport before returning to his battalion in August. He then participated in the bitter fighting of the Third Battle of Ypres, including the 9th Brigade’s costly and unsuccessful attack on Passchendaele village on 12 October 1917. After this, Bounds was temporarily promoted to lance corporal and became number one gunner in 15 Platoon’s Lewis gun section.

Bounds remained in Belgium until March 1918, when the German army launched its Spring Offensive on the Somme. Russia’s withdrawal from the war had freed up millions of German soldiers who were transferred to the west for a major offensive that intended to capture the city of Amiens and split the British and French armies along the Somme River. German troops succeeded in overrunning the British defences on the Somme and struck deep into allied territory. Australian troops were rushed south to defend Amiens, with troops of the 34th Battalion being sent to hold the line alongside British troops at Hangard Wood near the town of Villers-Bretonneux.

On 4 April 1918, Bounds’ platoon was holding up in a sunken road west of Villers-Bretonneux when German artillery searching for Australian gun batteries began shelling their position. Bounds was mortally wounded by a piece of shell fragment, and died several minutes later.

He was buried in an Oat Field near where he died, but was reinterred after the war at Crucifix Corner Cemetery at Villers-Bretonneux. The men of 15 Platoon were devastated by his loss. Their mate “Bounzie” was “very popular in the company and a courageous man”.

He was 26 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 Edward Bounds, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1797a) Private Edward Bounds, 34th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)