The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2496) Corporal Cyril Thomas Cody 13th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2017.1.279
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 06 October 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 Chris Widenbar, the story for this day was on (2496) Corporal Cyril Thomas Cody 13th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2496 Corporal Cyril Thomas Cody 13th Battalion, AIF
KIA 14 August 1916

Story delivered 6 October 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Cyril Thomas Cody.

Cyril Thomas Cody was born in 1892 to Christopher and Ellen Cody of the Sydney suburb of Kogarah. The fourth of eight children, young Cyril grew up in Kogarah and attended St Patrick’s Primary School and Marist College.
After his schooling, he was employed as a printer and was working in this role when the First World War began. He enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force in late June 1915. After initial training, he was allotted to the 7th reinforcements to the 13th Battalion.

He embarked from Sydney aboard the transport ship Shropshire on 20 August. After a brief stop in Egypt, he reached Gallipoli, joining the 13th Battalion in October.
Cody was promoted to corporal in early December and was amongst the last parties of the battalion to be withdrawn from Anzac in December.

The AIF returned to Egypt in January 1916 and underwent a period of reorganisation and reinforcement. After half of the 13th Battalion marched out to form the 45th Battalion in February, Cody’s promotion to corporal was made substantive.

On the evening of 22 April, Corporal Cody went absent without leave. He returned the following night and after being charged, he was reprimanded by his commanding officer and fined two days’ pay. It was his only misdemeanour.

The 13th Battalion sailed for France in June. After a brief orientation to the Western Front in the Nursery Sector, the battalion moved south to Pozières. On 25 July, Cody was evacuated with an injured arm, but he returned to the battalion within a week.

The 13th Battalion entered the front line near Mouquet Farm on the afternoon of 10 August. Over the next few days, the battalion pushed out outposts before being involved in a wider attack on the 14th. Before the 13th Battalion commenced their attack, a German shell landed amongst the men of A Company, killing Cody and several others. His platoon commander and friend from Coolah, Lieutenant Roy Cole looked for Cody after the shell hit, but was told by his men that Cody had died instantly.

With no record of him being buried, a court of enquiry held in January 1917 found that Cody had been killed in action on 14 August. After the end of the war, his name was added to the names of the missing on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux.

In 1935 an unknown soldier’s grave was located north of Pozières. On exhumation of the remains, an identity disc was found which contained Corporal Cody’s details. He was re-interred in the London Cemetery and Extension at High Wood Longueval.

Cyril Cody was 24 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 Corporal Cyril Thomas Cody, 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 (2496) Corporal Cyril Thomas Cody 13th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)