The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (201) Private Richmond Ambrose Walsh, 32nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.73
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 14 March 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (201) Private Richmond Ambrose Walsh, 32nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

201 Private Richmond Ambrose Walsh, 32nd Battalion, AIF
KIA 20 July 1916
Story delivered 14 March 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Andrew Clement Walsh, who served under the name of Private Richmond Ambrose Walsh.

Andrew Walsh was born on 27 June 1898 to Michael and Mary Walsh of Parkside, in Adelaide. He attended the Christian Brothers’ College, and was president of the St Andrew’s branch of the Hibernian Australian Catholic Benefit Society. He was so ardent in his work for the society that in 1914 he was awarded the gold medal and special prize from the Board of Juvenile Superintendents. Following his schooling he went on to work for the Government Printing Office. Andrew was noted as being “of a cheerful and happy disposition, and very popular amongst his many friends”.

Andrew Walsh enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force a few days after his brother Frank in July 1915. Because he was under age, Andrew enlisted under the name of his older brother Richmond, and put his age up from 17 years and one month to 18 years and one month. He was posted to the 32nd Battalion and after a short period of training in Australia was sent for overseas service. He arrived in Egypt just before Christmas 1915 and continued training before being sent to France. He arrived on the Western Front in June 1916.

Within weeks of arriving in France, the 32nd Battalion was called on to participate in an operation near the French village of Fromelles. Directed against a strong German position known as the Sugar Loaf salient, the attack was intended as a feint to draw German troops away from the Somme offensive taking place further south.

The attack was launched at 6 pm on 19 July 1916. Almost immediately the attackers were met with heavy German machine-gun fire. The attack failed, with the heaviest casualties sustained by the Australian military in a 24-hour period. More than 5,530 men were killed, wounded or missing.

Among the missing was Private Richmond Walsh. An investigation later revealed that he had last been seen in no man’s land, too wounded to return on his own. In 1917 a court of inquiry determined that he had been killed in action at Fromelles. Private Walsh’s remains were never recovered. He was 18 years old.

His 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 Andrew Clement Walsh, 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 (201) Private Richmond Ambrose Walsh, 32nd Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)