The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2043) Corporal William Daw, 9th Australian Army Service Corps, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.143
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 23 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 Copy provided for personal non-commercial use

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 (2043) Corporal William Daw, 9th Australian Army Service Corps, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2043 Corporal William Daw, 9th Australian Army Service Corps, AIF
DOW 17 August 1915
Story delivered 23 May 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal William Daw.

William Daw was born around 1885, the son of William and Mary Daw of Ballarat, Victoria. He attended the Urqhart Street State School, just down the road from where he lived, and went on to work for H. Davis and Company, drapers. William’s father was captain of the Ballarat City Fire Brigade, and was a champion ladderman in local competitions. William was an active member of the Ballarat Rifle and Rowing Clubs, winning a number of medals and trophies in each. Around 1909 he moved to Bendigo to manage a department of the Myers department store. He was known to be “of an affable and kindly disposition, and was very popular amongst a wide circle of friends”.

Daw enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in early October 1914, just weeks after the outbreak of war. He underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas on 22 December 1914. Promoted to corporal and transferred to the 9th Company of the Australian Army Service Corps, he was a keen soldier. One of his commanding officers wrote, “from the first day of joining he took the greatest interest in the work, and proved himself the best man I had”.

It is not known when Corporal Daw arrived on Gallipoli. By the time of the great August offensive he had been there for long enough to establish residence in a dug out with a mate.
Lieutenant Vassey later recalled that he “advised them to change their residence as the position was very dangerous. They did not think so.” As the men were talking, an enemy aircraft came over on a reconnaissance run and several of the Australians gathered together to watch it. As they did so, two Turkish shrapnel shells burst near their position. Vassey recalled “We all turned to run for cover, and I was congratulating myself that we had escaped when I saw Daw fall.”

The men quickly ran to his aid, and saw him safely evacuated to a hospital ship. Daw was taken to hospital in Egypt where, seriously wounded in the chest, he died a few days later. Today he lies in the Alexandra (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt. Corporal William Daw was 31 years old.

He was not the only member of his family to die in war. Two of his brothers, Les and Ern, were in camp having enlisted just before William died. Ern was seriously wounded in 1916 and later repatriated to Australia, while Les was killed in action almost exactly three years to the day after his older brother.

Their names are 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 Corporal William Daw, 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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