The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3660) Private Leslie Mallyon, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.189
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 8 July 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 Dennis Stockman, the story for this day was on (3660) Private Leslie Mallyon, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

3660 Private Leslie Mallyon, 36th Battalion, AIF
DOW 9 April 1918
Story delivered 8 July 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Leslie Mallyon.

Leslie Mallyon was born to James and Elizabeth Mallyon on 12 December 1898 on the family property of Otterbourne Station, near Yass in New South Wales.

He grew up in the area, and attended Yass Primary School and Yass High School. He served for four years with the school cadets and after leaving school, continued his service with the 43rd Infantry Regiment.

Mallyon’s first job had been as a chemist’s assistant, but by 1917 he was working as an accountant’s clerk.

He enlisted for service in the Australian Imperial Force on 4 June in Goulburn. After initial training, he was sent to Liverpool Camp where he was allotted to the 10th reinforcements to the 53rd Battalion. On 2 August Mallyon embarked from Sydney aboard the transport ship Militiades, bound for England.

Arriving in England, he was sent to a training battalion, but only days later was hospitalised with mumps. He returned to training at the end of October. He was hospitalised again in early January 1918, this time with measles.

He returned to training in mid-January and was allotted to reinforcements to the 36th Battalion. He sailed to France on 18 February and by the end of the month had been taken on strength of the 36th Battalion, which was in reserve positions at Ploegsteert Wood in Belgium.

When the German Army launched its spring offensive in March, the 36th Battalion was rushed south to defend the approaches to Amiens. Mallyon saw his first action when the battalion took part in a counter-attack to reclaim Hangard Wood.

On 4 April the battalion helped to defeat the major German attack on Villers-Bretonneux. During the fighting Mallyon was wounded in the abdomen and right buttock and thigh.

He was evacuated to the 3rd Australian General Hospital, but gas gangrene had set in. Following his death, Chaplain Henry Foreman wrote to Mallyon’s parents to tell them what had happened:

I deeply regret to say that your son … died in our hospital at 4.30am on April 9. He had been badly wounded and gas gangrene had set in. The gunshot wound was in the hip and operation was impossible … The dreadful gas poison set in and crept up his body and finally caused his death.

I saw him soon after he came to us and then every day, sometimes two or three times a day while he lingered. He was a quiet, gentle, good lad. I really think he realised that he was dying, though in so many words I did not say so, and he did not say so.

He received every care and much attention and sympathy but it was not to be.

He was buried in the Abbeville Military Cemetery in a plain deal coffin, with full military honours. His grave has a wooden cross with his name number and regiment. In the spring it will be beautiful with turf and flowers.

I deeply sympathise with you. It is a terrible price that we are all paying. I see very much of death here but it never ceases to touch me very much when a boy like yours, especially an Aussie boy ‘goes west’. God bless you and comfort you.

Private Leslie Mallyon was 19 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 Leslie Mallyon, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3660) Private Leslie Mallyon, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)