The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4158) Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF4158 Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.281
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 October 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 Gerard Pratt, the story for this day was on (4158) Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF4158 Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

4158 Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF
KIA 25 July 1916
Story delivered 8 October 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall.

Arthur Chibnall – known as “Len” – was born in Snake Valley, near Ballarat, Victoria, on 16 January 1897. His father Alfred worked as a miner for many years, and died at a relatively young age of lung disease, a condition known then as “miner’s complaint”. Len Chibnall was educated at the local state school in Snake Valley and went on to work in the Ballarat district as a labourer.

Chibnall attempted to enlist shortly after the outbreak of war in August 1914, but was turned down at least twice. He was only a little over 5 foot 3 inches tall, and early requirements for enlistment obliged a man to be 5 foot 6 or taller. When standards relaxed the following year, Chibnall was quick to try enlisting again, and this time was successful.

Chibnall underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas with reinforcements to the 7th Battalion in December 1915. He was first sent to Egypt, where the Australian Imperial Force was undergoing a period of training and reorganisation, before being sent on to France to fight on the Western Front. He landed in Marseilles with his battalion at the end of March 1916. Lance Corporal Arthur Dean, who served with Chibnall in the 7th Battalion, later recalled: “Len was very popular with all for his fine manly spirit and his generous heart. He never failed to share anything he had with the rest of us, and was a general favourite. No matter how tired he was, he never once had to fall out on a march, nor failed to do any job he had set him; and there aren’t too many of whom I can say that. He was a most willing little worker and a cheerful comrade.”

The 7th Battalion participated in its first operation on the Western Front in late July 1916, when it moved into the front line in support of the attack on the French village of Pozieres. As the main thrust of the attack advanced, companies of the 7th were called forward as reinforcement one at a time.

On the morning of 25 July, Private Chibnall’s company was called forward to reinforce another battalion. Their first task was to bomb the enemy out of a trench. As the bombing parties went forward, Private Chibnall covered them by sniping from the side of the trench. He then answered a call for volunteers to go forward, reportedly by jumping up onto the parapet of the trench, and calling “Come on Australia!” Almost immediately, Chibnall was shot through the neck and died.

Lance Corporal Dean wrote to Chibnall’s mother to say, “He could not have died more gloriously, and I am sure you will feel proud to be the mother of a boy who fought so gallantly and died so gamely. It was a day of valiant deeds, but I feel sure no one was more fearless than my young friend … his death and his gallant conduct should be an inspiration to us all.” Dean concluded his letter by saying, “We miss his bright young face very much, and know how sadly you must mourn … I trust that God will heal your sorrow and comfort you with the thought that duty nobly done wants not its reward.”

Private Chibnall’s body was not recovered from the battlefield, and today he is commemorated on the memorial to the missing at Villers-Bretonneux. He 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 Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 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 (4158) Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF4158 Private Arthur Lenard Chibnall, 7th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)