The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (441) Private Arthur James Pawley, 7th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.3
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 3 January 2020
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (441) Private Arthur James Pawley, 7th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

441 Private Arthur James Pawley, 7th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
DOW 10 June 1915

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Arthur James Pawley.

Arthur Pawley was born in 1893, the son of Walter James and Jane Pawley of the Melbourne suburb of Kensington. He attended Kensington Primary School, and then worked as a butcher.

Pawley was among the first to volunteer to join the Australian Imperial Force in late 1914. He enlisted in the 7th Australian Infantry Battalion in August, and in October sailed on the transport ship Hororata, which was part of the first convoy of transport ships to take soldiers to the First World War. While the AIF had been raised with the intention of fighting in Europe, it was instead diverted to Egypt in order to take part in the invasion of the Turkish Gallipoli peninsula.

British commanders aimed to force the Ottoman Empire out of the war. By capturing Gallipoli they hoped to open a sea route to Russia, to allow the transport of supplies to their ally.

At dawn on 25 April 1915, the men of the 7th Battalion left the transport ship Galeka on boats and landed at the north end of the landing place. Here the men faced a heavy rifle fire and suffered many casualties. By the end of that day about one-third of the battalion had been killed, wounded, or gone missing.

Pawley survived the landing and was with the 7th Battalion entrenched on the hillside. In early May, the 2nd Brigade, of which the 7th Battalion was part, supported British and French troops at Cape Helles on the southern end of the peninsula. In an attempt to seize the town of Krithia, the men charged across open ground, but were cut down by heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. The attack failed, and the men of the 7th Battalion returned to their original position on the west coast of the peninsula.

By this time, the unit had lost more than half of its men as casualties. To make up numbers, Pawley was appointed lance corporal in May, but not formally promoted. For the remainder of the month, the unit rotated in and out of the trenches and reserve positions on Gallipoli. However, even in the reserve areas, the men were never out of danger. During the month Turkish aeroplanes were spotted, some of which bombed Australian positions.

In June, the unit took up a reserve position near the ridgeline known as the Razorback. It continued to suffer casualties throughout the month. On the 20th of June 1915, Pawley was shot by a sniper and badly wounded. He was evacuated to the hospital ship Gascon, but died that afternoon. He was 22 years old.

Arthur Pawley was buried at sea, and is now commemorated at the Lone Pine Memorial on Gallipoli, alongside nearly 5,000 Australian and New Zealand servicemen who have no known grave.

His older brother Private Herbert Pawley also served in the First World War. He was twice wounded in action in France, and returned to Australia in 1919 after the end of the war.
Private Arthur James Pawley 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 Private Arthur James Pawley, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Thomas Rogers
Historian, Military History Section

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