The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (545) Corporal Gilbert Glenloth Wilson, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.271
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 28 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 Mathew Rose, the story for this day was on (545) Corporal Gilbert Glenloth Wilson, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

545 Corporal Gilbert Glenloth Wilson, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, AIF
KIA 14 November 1916
Photograph: P08024.001

Story delivered 28 September 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Gilbert Glenloth Wilson.

Gilbert Wilson was born in 1892 to Frederick and Eleanor Wilson. He was born in Sale, Victoria, but when he was a little boy his family moved to Albert Park in Melbourne, where he started school. They later moved to Port Melbourne, and Gilbert finished his schooling at the Nott-street School. In 1913 the oldest son in the family, Beresford, was killed in Mosman Bay when he fell between a dinghy and a motor boat moored in the bay and sank in rough water. Gilbert’s first job after school was with an oil and colour merchant, but he aspired to work on the railways like his father, who was an engine-driver. He eventually obtained a position in the Victorian railways and was working as an engine-cleaner in 1914, which was one of the steps on the ladder to becoming an engine-driver.

Gilbert’s brother Frederick was keenly interested in the military, and was granted a commission in the Australian Imperial Force shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914. Gilbert followed his brother into the AIF in January 1915. He underwent a period of training in Australia, during which time he received the news that Frederick Wilson had been killed in action shortly after the landing on Gallipoli in April 1915. Gilbert left Australia for active service overseas the following month.

Private Wilson was posted to the 2nd Pioneer Battalion and went to Egypt, where he completed his training and left for Gallipoli on board the troopship Southland. A few days into the voyage, when it was about 40 miles from Lemnos, the troopship was torpedoed. Almost all of the men escaped, including Wilson, who spent four hours in a collapsible boat before being picked up by a hospital ship.

Private Wilson reached Gallipoli after the major offensives were over, and served there until the evacuation in December 1915. He returned to Egypt, and spent some time serving near the Suez Canal before being sent to France to fight on the Western Front.

Wilson had proved an able solider, and in July he was promoted to lance corporal. He participated in operations around the French village of Pozières, again proving his capability under extremely heavy shell-fire and in the most difficult conditions. In September he was again promoted, this time to corporal.

In November 1916 the 2nd Pioneer Battalion supported an operation near the French village of Flers. At some point during the operation, Corporal Gilbert Wilson was killed in action. Little is known of the manner of his death, and his body was never recovered. Today he is commemorated on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

In a little over three years the Wilson family lost their three eldest sons, two in service of their country. Beresford drowned at the age of 25; both Frederick and Gilbert were 24 when they were killed in action.
Gilbert Wilson’s 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 Corporal Gilbert Glenloth Wilson, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (545) Corporal Gilbert Glenloth Wilson, 2nd Pioneer Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)