The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (402294) Sergeant John Graham Merrett, No. 72 Squadron (Royal Air Force), Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2017.1.347
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 13 December 2017
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (402294) Sergeant John Graham Merrett, No. 72 Squadron (Royal Air Force), Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

402294 Sergeant John Graham Merrett, No. 72 Squadron (Royal Air Force)
Killed in flying battle 27 September 1941

Story delivered 13 December 2017

Today we pay tribute to Sergeant John Graham Merrett.

John Merrett was born in Sydney on 3 November 1915.

Growing up, Merrett attended Mosman Public School and Neutral Bay High Intermediate High School. A keen sportsman, he played tennis and golf, and was involved in swimming.

Following school, Merrett took bookkeeping and accountancy classes at Hemmingway and Robertson in Barrack Street, Sydney, and a course in wool-classing at Sydney Technical College.

He went on to be employed as a clerk, working for his father, Joseph, who was the Metropolitan Meat Industry Commissioner, with an office at the State Abattoir at Homebush Bay.

Following the outbreak of the Second World War, Merrett served as a driver in the 2nd Armoured Regiment of the Militia, before enlisting in the Royal Australian Air Force on 2 July 1940.

He began training as a pilot, and in late November left Sydney for overseas service. As part of the Empire Air Training Scheme, Merrett was one of almost 27,500 RAAF pilots, navigators, wireless operators, gunners, and engineers, who, throughout the course of the war, joined squadrons based in Britain.

After spending some months undertaking specialist training in Canada, he arrived in Britain. In early June 1941 he was posted to No. 72 Squadron, Royal Air Force, which was equipped with Supermarine Spitfires.

On the afternoon of 27 September Merrett took off in his Spitfire from RAF Biggin Hill to carry out an operation patrol over the north sea and was never heard from again. He was reported as missing, presumed killed. Almost a month after his disappearance, his body was recovered after washing ashore on the Netherlands coast. Today he is buried in Flushing (Vlissingen) Northern Cemetery in Zeeland, the Netherlands.

John Merrett was 25 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

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

Lachlan Grant
Historian, Military History Section

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