The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2886) Lance Corporal Alexander Robert Turner, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.318
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 14 November 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 Copyright restrictions apply. Only personal, non-commercial, research and study use permitted. Permission of copyright holder required for any commercial use and/or reproduction.

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 David Sutton, the story for this day was on (2886) Lance Corporal Alexander Robert Turner, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

2886 Lance Corporal Alexander Robert Turner, 14th Battalion, AIF
KIA 16 October 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Alexander Robert Turner.

Alexander Turner was born in 1892, the youngest son of George and Phillippa Turner of Ararat, Victoria. He was educated at the local state school, and went on to work as a labourer at the Cathcart Central mine. He was a member of the local lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and was “highly respected throughout” Ararat.

Alexander Turner enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. He underwent a period of training in Australia, leaving for active service overseas in September 1915 with reinforcements to the 14th Battalion. Turner was first sent to Egypt where the AIF was undergoing a period of reorganisation following the evacuation from Gallipoli.

After six months training in the desert, Private Turner arrived in France to fight on the Western Front. He was soon promoted to lance corporal, and remained with his battalion through the bloody fighting at Pozieres in August 1916, and Bullecourt in April of the following year.

By late 1917 the 14th Battalion was in Belgium participating in a campaign that would become known as the Battle of Passchendaele. On 26 September it took part in the battle of Polygon Wood, successfully capturing its objectives in a relatively short period of time. The day after the attack Lance Corporal Turner was wounded in the leg by a piece of shrapnel. It was not a serious enough wound to keep him away from the front line for long, so rather than a long journey to an English hospital, he returned to his battalion in the front line on the 6th of October.

Ten days after returning to his battalion, Turner was in the support lines near Ypres. At 3 pm on 16 October, an artillery shell landed near his position and for the second time in as many weeks Alexander Turner was hit by shrapnel. Someone saw him go down, and rushed to give him aid. Although he was able to stand, four stretcher bearers came to take him to the dressing station. Turner shook his mates’ hands, and told them he’d make it to England this time.

The road to the dressing station was under shell-fire as the party set off. Only one stretcher bearer made it to the dressing station, and he was too badly wounded to explain what had happened. A man who had been following the party later reported that a shell landed almost on top of the party, killing most of them and partially burying their bodies. The shell-fire prevented the recovery of any but the badly wounded stretcher bearer, and their bodies were lost.

Today Alexander Turner is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres, alongside more than 50,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave. He was 25 years old.

His 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 Lance Corporal Alexander Robert Turner, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2886) Lance Corporal Alexander Robert Turner, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)