The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (8265028) Private Luke Worsley, 4RAR (Commando), Afghanistan War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.327
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 23 November 2017
Access Open
Conflict Afghanistan, 2001-2021
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 Mathew Rose, the story for this day was on (8265028) Private Luke Worsley, 4RAR (Commando), Afghanistan War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

8265028 Private Luke Worsley, 4RAR (Commando)
KIA 23 November 2007

Story delivered 23 November 2017

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Luke James Worsley.

Luke James Worsley was born in Windsor, New South Wales, in July 1981, one of five children of John and Marjorie Worsley. Beginning his education at Windsor Public School, he went on to study at Windsor High and then Coverdale Christian College. Quiet and introspective, Luke loved solitary pursuits such as reading, but also relished playing basketball and the outdoor life of hiking and rock-climbing with his brother Jason. Luke began an apprenticeship and worked as a bricklayer with a local minister and family friend who worked alongside and mentored him until he enlisted in the Australian Defence Force.

Luke enlisted in the Australian Army as a rifleman in October 2001, partly as a consequence of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States. From the moment he made the decision to enlist, he was fully committed to the profession and it became a part of who he was. After recruit training at Kapooka and corps training at Singleton, Luke was posted to the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. His first operational deployment was to East Timor in May 2003 as part of Operation Citadel, providing security to the people of East Timor as part of a wider UN peacekeeping effort.

Seeking a greater challenge, Luke went through the physically and mentally demanding selection process to gain entry into 4RAR (Commando) based at Holsworthy Barracks in Sydney. He completed a suite of courses that enabled him to become a “beret-qualified” commando in 2004.

In January 2006 he deployed to Afghanistan as part of the Special Forces Task Group. A tall, powerfully-built man with a gentle disposition, Luke was known as a highly-skilled and popular member of the elite unit’s Bravo Company.

Based at Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province, the unit carried out counter-insurgency operations throughout Uruzgan and neighbouring provinces, targeting Taliban insurgents and their ability to disrupt reconstruction efforts that sought to bring peace and stability to the region. Worsley returned to Australia in May 2006, transferring to and training with Bravo Company before returning to Afghanistan the following year. Here he continued counter-insurgency operations with the Special Operations Task Group.

On the night of 22 November 2007, Luke took part in a raid on an insurgent compound at Musa Kalay, east of Charmestan in the Mirabad Valley in Uruzgan. The area was a known staging area at the junction of three Taliban ratlines. To avoid detection, Bravo Company patrolled eight kilometres over rugged mountain terrain from their designated vehicle drop-off point.

Luke was the lead man of a commando team that entered the village. Despite entering silently and under cover of darkness, the patrol was spotted by Taliban sentries, who opened fire. Luke was hit by small arms fire as he entered one of the mud brick buildings and was killed instantly. Lance Corporal Cameron Baird and other team members recovered Luke’s body while under fire from the Taliban.

The fighting at Musa Kalay continued for a further two hours. When the commandos withdrew, Luke’s team members carried him back across eight kilometres of rugged terrain to the vehicle drop off point. According to one of the commandos, “every man wanted to carry Luke. We had been at it for 12 hours, we were all tired and we were hurt … but we were not bloody beaten and at no time would we give up”. We farewelled our comrade from the back of a Bushmaster before Luke’s body was taken back to Tarin Kot. The entire commando company stood to attention as the Chinook helicopter took off from the remote area with Luke on board. A formal ceremony was held in Luke’s honour at Camp Russell before his body was brought home to Australia. Aged 26 at the time of his death, Luke was buried at the Richmond Lawn Ceremony near his family home at Windsor. A nearby walk-over bridge was named in his honour in 2011.

Luke was a highly-skilled and professional soldier whose dedication and enthusiasm for soldiering was an inspiration to all who served with him. His mates remember him as modest and unassuming, tolerant and funny, but a remarkable character with strength of mind, body, and will. Luke was a much-loved brother to Leanne, Jason, Rebekah and Lauren, and son to John and Marjorie. Time has not diminished their sadness, but their pride in Luke’s service and sacrifice continued to conquer the loss they feel without him.

Luke Worsley is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with 42 other Australians who died on operations or as a consequence of the war in Afghanistan.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Luke Worsley, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

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