The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (583) Private David Henry Findlay, 14th Battalion, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.130
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 10 May 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 (583) Private David Henry Findlay, 14th Battalion, First World War.

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Speech transcript

583 Private David Henry Findlay, 14th Battalion
KIA 27 April 1915
Story delivered 10 May 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private David Henry Findlay.

David Findlay was born in 1889 to William and Catherine Findlay of Echuca, Victoria. He grew up to work as a grocer at the Federal Store in High Street Echuca. He played the tenor trombone for the Federal Band for a number of years, and was regarded as a promising musician. He also volunteered as assistant curator of the Borough of Echuca and was a well-known figure in the district. Findlay spent a number of years serving with the cadets, and distinguished himself as a good rifle shot in local competitions.

He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in September 1914 and left Australia with the second contingent in December 1914. Posted to the 14th Battalion, he continued his training in Egypt for some weeks before leaving for Turkey.

At 9.30am on the morning of 25 April 1915 the 14th Battalion left Lemnos Harbour for Gallipoli on board the troopship Seang Choon. It arrived off the peninsula around 5pm, and was met by boats carrying wounded. Many men from the 14th worked to bring the wounded on board throughout the night.

The 14th Battalion finally disembarked at 11.15am on 26 April and bivouacked on the beach while awaiting orders. The following day they moved inland under heavy shrapnel fire. Private Findlay and his mate, Private Duxbury, made it up to the front line together and tried to dig in. Duxbury later recalled “we could only dig enough trench to lie down in – about six inches deep. We were drawing too much fire. We were in the trench for about five hours firing into the Turks like blazes”.

Finally, Private Duxbury felt a sharp pain in his shoulder and realised he had been hit. He later wrote:
I turned my head round to see Dave, and asked him was he hit, and he never spoke. I lifted up his cap, and he had three bullet holes in his head, two just above his right ear, and one behind it, so he was killed outright … I felt that very much. Only the minute before he had been cracking jokes with me; the next he was dead.

Private David Findlay was buried at the base of Quinn’s Post in the days that followed. His grave was later lost, and today he is commemorated on a special memorial in Quinn’s Post Cemetery at Anzac. He was 26 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 Private David Henry Findlay, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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