The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (VX134973) Private Leonard Birdwood Hateley, 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion, Second World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.70
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 11 March 2019
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (VX134973) Private Leonard Birdwood Hateley, 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion, Second World War.

Speech transcript

VX134973 Private Leonard Birdwood Hateley, 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion
KIA 9 July 1945

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Leonard Hateley.

Leonard Birdwood Hateley was born on 3 April 1917 in Nhill, Victoria, to William and Hilda Hately. He attended state school at Nhill and nearby Kiata before going on to work as a farmhand.

Hateley’s birth certificate originally gave his name as “Lenard Bainwood”, and it wasn’t until he was 21 that the error was corrected.

Three years later, on the 18th of March 1941, Hateley joined the 7th Battalion Volunteer Defence Corps in Nhill – a part-time volunteer military force modelled on the British Home Guard.

Two of Leonard Hateley’s brothers also enlisted, Victor remained with the VDC through the war, and Albert went on to serve as sergeant with the 2/14th Field Regiment.

After almost two years with the VDC, while stationed in the Northern Territory in February 1943, Hateley transferred into the regular army, enlisting with the 2nd Australian Imperial Force and joining the 2/7th Infantry Battalion.

On 24 April 1944 Hateley left Cairns on board the troopship Duntroon, arriving at Lae in early May, and spending much of the year in Lae, Bougainville, and the Treasury Islands.

In mid-November , the 2/7th landed in New Guinea for its final campaign. It was engaged mainly in arduous patrolling to clear the Prince Alexander Range on the northern coast of New Guinea, and the Torricelli Mountains to the west.

This continued offensive harassing reduced the morale of the Japanese troops. When it was discovered that Japanese from North Bougainville were withdrawing along the eastern coast to Numa Numa, the time seemed opportune to increase the pressure along the Numa Numa trail and to attempt to reach the coast. In the process of crossing the dividing range, on the 12th of May the 2/7th Battalion, supported by mountain guns, captured Smith’s Hill. It then began driving the Japanese from Tiernan’s Spur, Wearne's Hill, and Berry's Hill.

On 9 July, Private Leonard Birdwood Hateley was killed during the fighting around Berry’s Hill. He was buried nearby, underneath a wooden cross featuring his name, but was later reburied at Port Moresby (Bomana) War Cemetery

He was 28 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among some 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second 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 Leonard Birdwood Hateley, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Duncan Beard
Editor, Military History Section

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