The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1706) Private Andrew Williams, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.195
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 14 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 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 (1706) Private Andrew Williams, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

1706 Private Andrew Williams, 36th Battalion, AIF
KIA 22 January 1917
Story delivered 14 July 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Andrew Williams.

Andrew Williams was born in Uralla in 1894 to John and Johannah Williams. He was raised in Rocky River near Armidale, where he attended the local school. He had eight siblings, and, following his education, he went on to work as a labourer in the local district. His father died around 1911.

Williams enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in April 1916. He was posted to the 36th Battalion, and underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving Sydney for active service overseas. He left Sydney Harbour on board the troopship Beltana, arriving in England nearly two months later. Williams continued training in England for the next four months, crossing to France in late November 1916.

The 36th Battalion entered the trenches of the Western Front in early December 1916. The winter that followed would be one of the harshest seen by northern France for decades. The men suffered in the extreme cold, often holding the front line through heavy rain and even snow, the frozen ground in some ways a welcome relief from the muddy morass caused by the rain.

Fighting on the Western Front died down over the winter months, but although the major campaigns came to a halt, each side harassed the other with artillery fire and occasional raiding parties.

On 22 January 1917 the 36th Battalion was holding the line near Armentieres near the Belgian border. The Germans sent over a heavy artillery barrage before a raiding party entered the front line, but were forced out in heavy fighting. Private Williams and another man were missing after the bombardment. Several days later their frozen bodies were found buried in a shelter by artillery fire. Their bodies could not be recovered for some weeks because they were frozen to the ground. It was not until 2 March 1917 that they were buried in the Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery in Armentieres by the Reverend Richmond, a chaplain serving with the 33rd Battalion.

Private Andrew Williams was 22 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 Andrew Williams, 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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