The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (H1292) Stoker Eric Markham McLoughlin, HMAS Goorangai, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.24
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 24 January 2018
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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (H1292) Stoker Eric Markham McLoughlin, HMAS Goorangai, Second World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

H1292 Stoker Eric Markham McLoughlin, HMAS Goorangai
Killed in accident, 20 November 1940

Today we remember and pay tribute to Stoker Eric Markham McLoughlin.

Known as “Tassy” to friends and family, Eric McLoughlin was born in Hobart in August 1896, the second son of Frank and Christine McLoughlin.

In 1930 Eric married Olive Barrie, and when war broke out nine years later, the couple were living in Hobart. McLoughlin was working as a marine fireman, stoking the coal engines of steamships, and was a member of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve. At the start of the war, he reported for active duty and was posted to the HMAS Goorangai. This vessel had been a fishing trawler in peacetime, but when the war started she was taken over by the Navy Board and fitted out for minesweeping.

In early November 1940 a British ship and an American freighter in Bass Strait were lost in quick succession to German minelaying operations. Goorangai was one of a number of minesweepers sent to locate and destroy the minefields. Following that operation, the minesweeper began the return journey to Queenscliff, until a rising storm saw the ship diverted to Portsea, which was a safer harbour.

As the Goorangai passed through the dangerous rip at the mouth of Port Philip Bay in the darkness, she was hit by an outbound merchant ship and almost torn in half. A crewman on the ship that hit the Goorangai reported, “In the short time it took me to run along the promenade deck to the rail by the bridge, the Goorangai had disappeared. There was not a sound but the crash of water.”

In those short moments, some eyewitnesses heard men calling for help, but could do little for them. Floatation devices were thrown out into the darkness, and lifeboats were deployed but, despite a long search, no survivors or bodies were found. The minesweeper had sunk almost immediately with all hands still on board.

Over the following weeks, diving operations recovered the bodies of five of the crew. The remaining 19, including Eric McLoughlin, were never recovered, and the wreck of the minesweeper had to be blown up to clear the channel.

Eric McLoughlin and the crew of HMAS Goorangai are 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 Stoker Eric Markham McLoughlin, 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 (H1292) Stoker Eric Markham McLoughlin, HMAS Goorangai, Second World War. (video)