The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (5424) Private Wilson Turton 22nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.106
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 16 April 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 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 (5424) Private Wilson Turton 22nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

5424 Private Wilson Turton 22nd Battalion, AIF
KIA 15 June 1918
Story delivered 16 April 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Wilson Turton.

Wilson Turton was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1881 to Joe and Mary Turton. He grew up in Holmfirth and attended the local school. After leaving school, he went to work as a mill worker in a furnishing business.

On 13 February 1904 Wilson Turton married Mary Elizabeth Burgess in the Holy Trinity Church at Holmfirth. The following year their first son was born. Another two boys would be born to the couple in the following years.

The family emigrated to Australia in 1914 and settled in Newport, Victoria. Turton was working as a labourer when the First World War began. He enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force in Melbourne on 31 January 1916. He underwent training at Ascot Vale and Royal Park before being allotted to the 14th Reinforcements to the 22nd Battalion.

He embarked with fellow reinforcements from Melbourne on 28 July aboard the transport ship Themistocles bound for England, where he spent two further months training before being sent to France. The bitter winter of 1916–17 had well and truly set in by the time Turton was taken on strength of the 22nd Battalion in December. The battalion was in rest positions at Flesselles.

Turton was evacuated a little over two weeks later with severe trench feet. He was hospitalised in England until early February 1917, when he was given two weeks’ leave. In April he was transferred to the 67th Battalion as the AIF attempted to raise a sixth infantry division. This was a short-lived posting, and in June he was sent to the army school of cookery for a course.

He was transferred back to the 22nd Battalion in September and returned to the Western Front in October 1917, rejoining his battalion at Steenvoorde in Belgium. Winter was once again cruel to Turton. In mid-January 1918 he was again hospitalised with trench feet, though on this occasion he was only out of the line for nine days.

Turton saw his first major action when the Germans launched their Spring Offensive at the end of March. The 22nd Battalion held defensive positions at Lavieville throughout April. The following month, with the offensive halted, the battalion rotated in and out of the front line near Franvillers.

On 15 June, the 22nd Battalion was in the front line. German artillery had been active over the previous days and sometime during that day, Wilson Turton was killed.

As the battalion was relieved from the front line that night, his body was laid to rest in the Mericourt-L’Abbe Communal Cemetery Extension. He was 37 years old.

Wilson Turton’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on your left, 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 Wilson Turton, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

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