The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (999) Trooper Edward James Clements, 11th Light horse Regiment, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2018.1.1.294
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 21 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
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 Joanne Smedley, the story for this day was on (999) Trooper Edward James Clements, 11th Light horse Regiment, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

999 Trooper Edward James Clements, 11th Light horse Regiment, AIF
DOW 19 April 1917
Story delivered 21 October 2018

Today we remember and pay tribute to Trooper Edward James Clements.

Edward Clements was born in Mackay, Queensland, on 4 September 1896, the son of William and Bridget Clements. Edward’s parents both died before his eighteenth birthday, and when he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915 at Brisbane, his only surviving next of kin was his elder sister, Margaret.

Having worked as a horse-breaker before enlisting, Clements joined as a private in the 4th Reinforcements of the 11th Light Horse Regiment in July 1915, and sailed for Egypt. Because they were manoeuvrable and tough, light horse units were ideally suited for operations in the rugged desert conditions. Thus the 11th Light horse Brigade did not sail to the Western Front in France, but instead stayed in Egypt and assisted allied forces in re-capturing the Sinai Peninsula from Turkish forces throughout 1916.

The Suez Canal was vital for British war supply and Australian troop movements. On 20 July, the 11th Light Horse Regiment joined forces defending the canal. This time was spent conducting periodic raids on Turkish forces and securing water supplies. The regiment then spent the next eight months conducting patrols and forays into the Sinai desert to ensure the security of allied troops and the canal. On one occasion, enemy aircraft caused a stampede when they dropped a number of bombs among the Australian brigade as they were watering their horses.

In April 1917 Clements and the 11th Light Horse Regiment moved into Palestine in preparation for a second major allied offensive to take Gaza, an important Turkish city. The first attack in March was unsuccessful and cost nearly 4,000 casualties. Clements and his unit were called forward to provide support for a second assault. The Turkish forces, however, now knew of allied intentions to take Gaza and were better prepared. The battle began on 19 April, and the 11th Light Horse Regiment came under heavy Turkish artillery and machine-gun fire near Wadi Sihan.

Edward Clements received a gunshot wound to his side. He was taken to the 4th Australian Field Hospital, but later died of his wounds.

He is buried at the Gaza War Cemetery, one of more than 6,000 allied casualties suffered on that day. His grieving sister left the following words on his grave: “He died a hero, brave and true.” He was 20 years old.

Trooper Edward James Clements is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 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 Trooper Edward James Clements, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

David Sutton
Historian, Military History Section




  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (999) Trooper Edward James Clements, 11th Light horse Regiment, AIF, First World War. (video)