The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (403006) Samuel George Proudfoot, No. 11 Squadron (RAF), Second World War.

Place Asia: India, Tamil Nadu, Chennai, Madras War Cemetery
Accession Number AWM2019.1.1.358
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 24 December 2019
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 (403006) Samuel George Proudfoot, No. 11 Squadron (RAF), Second World War.

Speech transcript

403006 Samuel George Proudfoot, No. 11 Squadron (RAF)
Accidental 13 September 1943

Today we remember and pay tribute to Squadron Leader Samuel George Proudfoot.

The second son of Hector and Leah Proudfoot, Samuel Proudfoot was born in Gunnedah, in north-eastern New South Wales, on 5 January 1915. Following the Great War, the Proudfoot family moved to Scone where they became well known within the community in part thanks to Samuel’s prowess on the football field. A 1934 newspaper described the then 19-year old as solidly built, fast and powerful. He marks well, and is not afraid to go on his own or to send his backs along. He would take some beating to fill the full-back position in the New England side.

Known as “Sam”, Proudfoot attended Maitland High School, becoming the school captain in his final year, and then attended Armidale Teachers’ College. After graduating, he joined the teaching staff of the Department of Education and taught in several schools on the New South Wales north coast. His final teaching appointment was at Whiporie, during which he enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in November 1940.

His younger brother, Edward, had already enlisted. He died of wounds on 4 January 1941. Two other brothers would also serve, and their sister enlisted as a nursing Volunteer Aid Detachment.

Samuel Proudfoot underwent training in New South Wales and Queensland and in June 1941 qualified for his pilot’s flying badge. Three months later he left Australia for overseas service with the rank of pilot officer, arriving in Egypt in late September.
After time spent in training units in the Middle East and Kenya, in January 1942, Temporary Flying Officer Proudfoot was posted to No. 11 Squadron, Royal Air Force, in Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka), where he would pilot twin-engine Bristol Blenheim light bombers. While on Ceylon he captained a rugby team that met with “much success”. In late April 1943 he was promoted to acting squadron leader.
Proudfoot was then transferred to India. After flying more than 50 missions over Burma, on 13 September 1943 he was killed in an aircraft accident. He was 28-years old. He is buried in the Madras War Cemetery, Chennai, in India.
Samuel Proudfoot’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with his younger brother and some 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 Squadron Leader Samuel George Proudfoot, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Karl James
Historian, Military History Section