The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (5824) Private John Henry “Jack” Elliott, 25th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.15
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 15 January 2018
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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (5824) Private John Henry “Jack” Elliott, 25th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

5824 Private John Henry “Jack” Elliott, 25th Battalion, AIF
DOW 11 June 1918
Story delivered 15 January 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private John Henry Elliott.

John Elliott was born in 1886 in Exeter, New South Wales, to Alexander and Mary Elliott. He was the third of 12 children – seven boys and five girls – born to the couple.

John attended Exeter State School before the Elliott family moved to a dairy farm at Numulgi, near Lismore. Here, John and several of his brothers worked with their father on the farm.

Following the outbreak of the First World War, John Elliott and his younger brother, Frank, enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force at Lismore on 13 May 1916. The brothers were transferred to Brisbane, where after initial training they were allocated to the 16th reinforcements to the 25th Battalion.

John and Frank embarked from Brisbane on 21 October aboard the transport ship Boonah, bound for England. Their older brother, William, enlisted at the end of October, joining the 52nd Battalion.

The 25th Battalion was in the 2nd Division’s first wave during the attack on Menin Road on 20 September. Both brothers were wounded during the day. John received shrapnel wounds to both hands and one of his legs. His wounds were superficial and he returned to the battalion two days later. Frank was wounded in the foot and was evacuated to England.

John next participated in the successful attack on Broodseinde in early October, where he was again wounded, this time receiving shrapnel wounds to his head, shoulder and upper chest.

He was evacuated to England for surgery and convalescence. Here he was able to catch up with Frank, who was again back in England after returning to France and being wounded for a second time.

John returned to France in late March, only days before the Germans launched their spring offensive. Throughout April, the 25th Battalion played its part in halting the German advance.
John’s brother William was killed on 24 April during the Australian attack to dislodge the Germans from Villers Bretonneux, and was buried in the nearby Adelaide Cemetery.

On the night of 10 June, the 25th Battalion began their attack on Morlancourt. Not long after “hop over” a German shell landed among A Company, killing two men outright and wounding several more, including John Elliott, who lost both legs below the knees.

One witness recalled that, despite his terrible wounds, he remained cheerful. He was carried back to the 5th Australian Field Ambulance, where he died in the early hours of 11 June. John Elliot was laid to rest in the Querrieu British Cemetery. He was 32 years old.

His brother Frank did not return to France. His second wound caused him to be medically downgraded and he sailed for Australia in December.

John Elliot’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among almost 62,000 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 John Henry Elliott, 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 (5824) Private John Henry “Jack” Elliott, 25th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)