The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (402771) Flight Sergeant Gordon Reid Ferguson, No. 148 Squadron (RAF), Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.194
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 13 July 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
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 (402771) Flight Sergeant Gordon Reid Ferguson, No. 148 Squadron (RAF), Second World War.

Speech transcript

402771 Flight Sergeant Gordon Reid Ferguson, No. 148 Squadron (RAF)
Flying Battle 22 June 1942

Today we remember and pay tribute to Flight Sergeant Gordon Reid Ferguson.

Gordon Reid Ferguson was born on 16 December 1918 in the Sydney suburb of Belmore, the youngest of three boys born to William and Louisa Ferguson.

Gordon attended Belmore Junior Technical Trades School, Ultimo Technical Trades School, and Sydney Technical Boys High School, where he excelled at drawing, woodwork, and metalwork. After school, he worked as a clerk, motor mechanic, and motorcycle salesman. He was a keen sportsman, and enjoyed football, ice hockey, tennis, shooting, swimming, running, motorbike riding, and cycling.
Ferguson also served in a local militia force, from 1939 to 1940 serving as a dispatch rider with the 1st Cavalry Division Signals in Sydney.

On 14 October 1940, Ferguson enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force. His two brothers, Jack and Herbert, also served in the Royal Australian Air Force during the war.
Following initial training in Australia, in late 1940 Ferguson travelled to Canada, where he participated in the Empire Air Training Scheme. This was a joint British and Dominion program designed to ensure that enough trained airmen were available to keep up with demand for the war in Europe and North Africa.

On 23 June 1941, he attained his air gunner’s badge, and the following month transferred to England for final training and posting into a Royal Air Force unit. On 23 December, he was promoted to the rank of flight sergeant.

In early May 1942, Ferguson joined RAF No. 148 Squadron, which was based at the Kabrit base near the Suez Canal in Egypt. No. 148 Squadron flew twin-engine Vickers Wellington long-range medium bombers in support of the British 8th Army in the deserts of North Africa. The 8th Army was fighting German Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Corps as they advanced east towards El Alamein.

On 22 June 1942, Ferguson’s aircraft was sighted attacking German targets near Benghazi, when it came under heavy enemy flak fire and burst into flames. The aircraft made a controlled descent to an altitude of 2,000 feet, before suddenly falling to the ground and exploding upon impact. Ferguson was originally reported as missing in air operations, but was later officially presumed to have been killed on that day. He was 23 years old.

In a further tragedy for the Ferguson family, Gordon’s older brother Herbert, who signed up after Gordon’s death, was killed in May 1944 while conducting air operations over France. Of the three Ferguson brothers who served for Australian in the Second World War, only the eldest, Jack, would ever return home.

Gordon Ferguson’s name is listed on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt, which commemorates the names of nearly 12,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died fighting in the Second World War.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 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 Flight Sergeant Gordon Reid Ferguson, 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 (402771) Flight Sergeant Gordon Reid Ferguson, No. 148 Squadron (RAF), Second World War. (video)