The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1954) Private George Humphrey Cowled, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.51
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 20 February 2019
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 (1954) Private George Humphrey Cowled, 36th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1954 Private George Humphrey Cowled, 36th Battalion, AIF
KIA 30 April 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private George Humphrey Cowled.

George Cowled was born in 1890 to Charles and Margaret Cowled of Illabo, New South Wales. He was born in Junee, and attended school in Illabo before going on to work as a farmer like his father.

Cowled enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in March 1916. He underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas with reinforcements to the 36th Battalion in September 1916. Private Cowled spent the bitterly cold winter of 1916 and 1917 in England training at Tidworth near the Salisbury Plain. He finally joined his battalion in France in late March 1917.

A month after joining his battalion, Private Cowled entered the front line at Le Touquet. Four hours after the 36th Battalion took over the front line, the men came under a heavy German artillery bombardment. A German raiding party launched an attack which was stopped by Australian artillery. After two and a half hours, the enemy barrage eased, leaving behind five killed and 15 wounded.

One of those killed was Private George Cowled. He had been at the front for just one month. His remains were collected and buried in a row with the other four men killed in the bombardment. The chaplain who conducted the funeral service wrote to Cowled’s parents in Australia to say, “on behalf of the officers and men of the battalion, as well as my own, I wish to express … sincerest sympathy in your sad loss … it fell to my lot to conduct his funeral service, and [I] can assure you that his body was reverently laid to rest in a little cemetery known as the ‘London Rifle Brigade Cemetery’.”

Private George Cowled’s epitaph reads, “For King and Country he died; in God and in Peace he lives”. He was 26 years old.

His name 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 Private George Humphrey Cowled, 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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