The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (11902) Gunner Jack Alexander Claude Kennedy Tyson, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.250
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 7 September 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 Dennis Stockman, the story for this day was on (11902) Gunner Jack Alexander Claude Kennedy Tyson, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

11902 Gunner Jack Alexander Claude Kennedy Tyson, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, AIF
KIA 14 April 1918

Today we remember and pay tribute to Gunner Jack Alexander Claude Kennedy Tyson.

Jack Tyson was born in September 1890, the only child of Walter Seale and Blanche Tyson of Hay, New South Wales. Born into a famous cattle-owning family, Tyson went to Hay Primary School, before attending Geelong Grammar and Melbourne Grammar. After finishing his education, he returned to Hay as the owner of Oolambeyan Station.

Tyson left the grazier’s life to serve in the army in 1915. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Melbourne in November, and sailed to Egypt on board the transport ship Themistocles in early 1916. He trained in Egypt for two weeks as an artillery gunner and in March sailed to France to join the fighting on the Western Front. He joined the 117th Howitzer Battery of the 22nd Field Artillery Brigade, supporting the AIF’s 2nd Division.

Tyson’s battery was made up of four 4.5-inch howitzers which were used in support of Australian and British infantry. During infantry attacks on German lines, they provided a supporting barrage. Howitzers also used high-explosive shells to weaken and destroy enemy parapets and trenches. Because of the damage artillery could do, the Australian batteries were often the target of German artillery counter-battery fire.

Tyson’s first engagement with the 117th Battery was on the Somme sector of the front. In August 1916, his battery supported infantry assaults on the German-held village of Pozieres. During the fighting for Mouquet Farm, the 117th Battery was targeted by German artillery and Tyson suffered a head wound.

He was initially treated in the field, before being evacuated to hospital in England. Tyson recuperated and returned to duty in early September. Remaining in England, he undertook training and support duties for his unit. During the winter of 1916 and 1917 he fell ill and spent more time in hospital. In March 1917 he returned to France, where he was transferred to the 4th Field Artillery Brigade, once more in support of the 2nd Australian Division.

Like most soldiers on the Western Front, artillery men endured wet, muddy conditions. They struggled to move the heavy weaponry with their horses through the mud to keep up with the infantry. According to his battery comrades, after he was wounded, Tyson found it difficult to keep up with the rigours of the work. He was transferred to work as a YMCA orderly attached to the 4th Field Artillery Brigade.

Having learnt from the bitter winter of the previous year, in 1917 and 1918 the AIF commanders wanted to ensure the good health and comfort of the soldiers in France. Representatives of the YMCA and the Australian Comforts Fund provided Christmas gifts, extra food, sporting clothes and material, and letter-writing supplies. As an orderly, Tyson’s role was to transport these items to where they were needed on the front.

On 14 April 1918, Tyson and other orderlies with the YMCA arrived with a trainload of supplies at St Roche Station in Amiens. As soon as the train pulled in, the station was subjected to a German artillery bombardment. Tyson was struck by a shell and killed instantly. He was 27 years old.

Jack Tyson is buried at St Pierre Cemetery in Amiens alongside nearly 700 other Commonwealth soldiers who died in the First World War. His mother had his headstone inscribed “In loving memory of my little boy, from his sorrowing mother”.

Jack Tyson’s 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 Gunner Jack Alexander Claude Kennedy Tyson, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Thomas Rogers
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (11902) Gunner Jack Alexander Claude Kennedy Tyson, 4th Field Artillery Brigade, AIF, First World War. (video)