The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3369) Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.136
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 16 May 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 Sharon Bown, the story for this day was on (3369) Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

3369 Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry, 2nd Battalion, AIF
DOW 25 December 1916

Today we remember and pay tribute to Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry.

Jack William Rainsford McLoughry was born in 1898, the eldest of three sons born to William and Mary Anne McLoughry of the Sydney suburb of Hornsby. Known as “Mac” to his mates, McLoughry went to a local school in Hornsby, and later took up an apprenticeship in Meadowbank. He worked as a moulder. Before the war he gained valuable military service by serving in a local militia force.

McLoughry enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 23 July 1915. He was only 17 at the time of his enlistment, too young to serve, but lied about his age in order to be allowed into the army.

After training in Liverpool in Sydney’s south-west, McLoughry sailed for overseas service. McLoughry did not serve in the Gallipoli campaign, but instead sailed to Egypt. Once there, he joined the 2nd Infantry Battalion, which formed part of the 1st Brigade of the 1st Australian Division. In March 1916 he sailed with this unit from Egypt for France and the war on the Western Front.

Throughout his training and service, McLoughry showed himself to be a capable and reliable soldier, and was promoted several times. He eventually reached the rank of corporal. While serving, he undertook specialist training in Lewis machine-gunnery. He was very popular; one soldier described him as “the finest little fellow that ever walked on two legs”.

From 23 July 1916, exactly one year after his enlistment, McLaughry and the 2nd Battalion took part in the fighting at Pozieres to the north of the River Somme. In this battle, the Australian troops successfully took the German front-line trenches but came under a series of strong counter-attacks and heavy artillery fire. In five days, the Australian 1st Division, of which McLoughry was part, suffered over 5,200 casualties.

McLoughry survived the fighting at Pozieres, and continued to serve with the 2nd Battalion in France and Belgium.
He spent his 18th birthday in the trenches. In a letter home to his family, McLoughry wrote about the terribly cold conditions in the trenches as winter set in, and how dearly he wished to be able to have a swim in the warm Australian surf.

On Christmas Eve 1916, McLoughry was walking in a supply trench near Bazentin to the east of Pozieres when he was shot in the abdomen by a German sniper. He was given immediate medical treatment, and then taken to the nearby 3rd Australian Field Ambulance.

On Christmas Day 1916, he died of his wounds. He was 18 years old.

He is buried in the Bernafay Wood British Cemetery in France, where over 900 soldiers of the First World War now lie.

He was dearly missed by him family. His cousins wrote to a local newspaper back home in Australia that “He heard his country’s call and answered with his life.”

Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry’s 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 Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry, 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 (3369) Corporal Jack William Rainsford McLoughry, 2nd Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)