The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2280) Private Stanley Joseph Bickell, 5th Battalion, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.108
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 18 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 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 , the story for this day was on (2280) Private Stanley Joseph Bickell, 5th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

2280 Private Stanley Joseph Bickell, 5th Battalion
KIA 1 July 1916
Story delivered 18 April 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Stanley Joseph Bickell.

Stanley Bickell was born in August 1895 in North Sydney, one of four sons born to Joseph and Elizabeth Bickell. His father was an expert stone cutter, who reportedly cut stone for as many as 1,000 foundations around Sydney. Stanley attended Lindfield Public School, and went on to become a sailor, serving in the Royal Navy for two years before absconding in December 1913.

In January 1915 Bickell enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He was allotted to the 5th Battalion, and after a period of training in Australia, left Sydney on board the troopship Ceramic for active service overseas. Private Bickell reached Gallipoli in mid-August, but within a week had contracted a serious ear infection and had to be evacuated to hospital in Malta. His condition worsened, and he eventually reached hospital in London, spending nearly three months there recovering.

Private Bickell was sent back to Egypt to rejoin his battalion in December 1915, arriving too late to go back to Gallipoli. Instead, the rest of his battalion joined him in Egypt following the evacuation from the peninsula. Several months of training and manoeuvres followed, before the 5th Battalion was sent to France to fight on the Western Front.

The battalion arrived in Marseilles on 30 March and within a short period of time had entered the front line in a relatively quiet sector of the front. They spent the next several weeks rotating in and out of front-line areas.

On 1 July, as the great battle of the Somme was beginning to the south, Private Stanley Bickell was killed in action in the front line near the Belgian border. He was buried in the nearby Berks Cemetery Extension, where he lies today.

The Bickell family regularly put notices in the newspapers on the anniversary of Stanley’s death. One of the notices read
Midst the battle’s awful din
With firm resolve to die or win,
A credit to his uniform,
Our hero fell, and so we mourn.

Stanley Joseph Bickell died one month before his 21st birthday.

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 Private Stanley Joseph Bickell, 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 (2280) Private Stanley Joseph Bickell, 5th Battalion, First World War. (video)