The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2111) Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter, 28th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.88
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 29 March 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 Troy Clayton, the story for this day was on (2111) Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter, 28th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2111 Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter, 28th Battalion, AIF
DOW 1 June 1918

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter.

Thomas Carter was born on 16 August 1883 near Crystal Brook in South Australia. One of 16 children born to Michael and Mary Ann Carter, he was known to friends and family as “Tom”. Prior to the First World War, Tom worked as a farm labourer in the mid-north region of South Australia, and spent six years serving in Number 1 Squad of the 17th Regiment Australian Light Horse Militia, where he gained valuable military experience.

On 1 May 1911 he married Lilian May Young, and the couple would have two children together: Constance May was born in 1912, and Sydney Thomas in 1914. In 1912 Thomas Carter briefly ran the Modbury Hotel which still stands in Adelaide, and then moved with his young and growing family to Western Australia where he worked on the railways.

Carter enlisted on 14 May 1915 in Perth. Upon enlistment, soldiers were asked whether they would like to have 40 or 60 percent of their pay sent home to Australia. Thinking of his young family, Carter crossed out both options and requested that 80 percent of his pay be sent home.

In October 1915, Carter sailed from Fremantle as part of reinforcements for the 28th Battalion. Too late to take part in the Gallipoli campaign, he spent time training with Gallipoli veterans during the doubling of the Australian Imperial Force in Egypt.

He arrived in France in March 1916 and joined the 7th Australian Light Trench Mortar Battery, which was attached to the 28th Battalion. Trench mortar batteries gave direct close range artillery support to their brigade. Spending time close to the front line and within range of direct German attack, Carter and his team used a Stokes three-inch mortar, capable of firing a cylindrical bomb about 750 metres in rapid succession, and were enormously useful in supporting infantry attacks.

In July and August, Carter was involved in fighting at Pozieres in the Somme region of northern France. The 2nd Australian Division moved to this sector of the front in late July and proceeded to launch a number of fierce attacks on the German lines. In just 12 days, it suffered 6,848 casualties.

After a brief stint in Belgium after Pozieres, the 28th Battalion returned south to the Somme region of France and took part in the costly fighting east of Flers in November 1916. Heavy rain and constant bombardment had turned the battlefield into a treacherous muddy quagmire. Troops found it incredibly difficult to move in the thick mud and were easy pickings for German machine-gunners.

On the night of 22 December 1916, while encamped in the Fricourt area of the Somme region for retraining and reorganisation, Carter and some of his company attended a show at the local corps theatre. While walking home, Carter was struck by a passing motor vehicle. He dislocated his shoulder and received other injuries serious enough that he was hospitalised and sent to England for treatment and recovery. While in England, Carter’s experience and service saw him promoted to the rank of lance corporal, and he undertook training to become qualified as an instructor at the 17th Brigade Bombing School. In October 1917, he returned to France with the 28th Battalion and spent the next seven months in the Somme region.

On the night of 31 May 1918, the 28th Battalion was being moved from the front for relief when a German aeroplane appeared overhead and dropped two bombs in quick succession. The attack killed 27 men. Carter received wounds to his thighs and abdomen, and was treated by the 5th Australian Field Ambulance, but later died of his injuries. He was 34 years old, survived by his wife Lilian and two young children, Constance and Sydney.

At the time of his death, Tom’s brother Claude, who had served at Gallipoli, was also serving in France. Thomas as buried in the Vignacourt British Cemetery in France.

Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter 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 Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter, 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 (2111) Corporal Thomas Augustine Carter, 28th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)