The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2783) Private Clifford Harrold Archibald, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.30
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 30 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 (2783) Private Clifford Harrold Archibald, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2783 Private Clifford Harrold Archibald, 10th Battalion, AIF
KIA 24 April 1918

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Clifford Harrold Archibald.

Clifford Archibald was born on 16 November 1895 to David and Emma Archibald of the Adelaide suburb of Norwood. He grew up in the suburbs of Adelaide, attending Rose Park state school and later Norwood High School. He went on to undertake an apprenticeship as a watchmaker and jeweller at his father’s shop in Rundle Street.

He was an enthusiastic member of the voluntary cadets and won a number of competitions. He also won a number of shooting competitions through his membership of the Adelaide Rifle Club. Archibald was an active “member of the Parkside Baptist Sunday School from his early youth, and had a wide circle of friends.” Standing over 6 feet tall, he was described as “a fine specimen of Australian manhood.”

Clifford Archibald enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in June 1915. After a period of training in Australia in September 1915 he left for active service overseas with reinforcements to the 10th Battalion. Private Archibald was first sent to Egypt, and reached Lemnos Island when the evacuation from Gallipoli began. He then turned back to Egypt and continued training in the desert until being sent to France to fight on the Western Front.

The 10th Battalion’s first engagement on the Western Front came in the form of a successful attack to recapture the French village of Pozieres. The battalion moved into the forward lines from 20 July in preparation for the attack, but the following day, before the attack had begun, Private Archibald was wounded by a stray artillery shell. He was evacuated to hospital, and did not rejoin the battalion for several weeks, missing most of the fighting on Pozieres Ridge.

Archibald returned to the 10th Battalion in France as the bitterly cold winter of 1916 and 1917 was setting in. After two months largely spent outside in cold, damp conditions, Private Archibald contracted trench foot, and was evacuated to England.

Months later, Archibald’s recovery was complicated by a heart condition, and he spent more months in hospital and training depots. He did not return to the 10th Battalion at the front in France until March 1918.

Less than six weeks later the Germans attacked in large-scale operations that would become known as the Spring Offensive. The 10th Battalion was by this time in the north of France near the town of Meteren. On 24 April 1918 the battalion came under attack, and Private Archibald was shot through the forehead. He fell to the ground without saying a word. Shortly afterwards the battalion was pressed back, and Archibald’s body was lost in the confusion.

There were a number of reports of a lonely grave near Meteren bearing Archibald’s name, and his parents kept pushing to learn the location of his burial place. In the early 1920s they were sent photographs of a grave believed to be their son’s, but it was mislabelled, and after having spoken to two of Clifford’s mates who said he had no grave, they did not believe the grave was his. Archibald’s final resting place remains a bit of a mystery, although there is a grave marked with his name in the Meteren Military Cemetery, not far from where he was killed. His parents chose not to put an epitaph on the grave. Clifford Archibald was 22 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 Private Clifford Harrold Archibald, 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 (2783) Private Clifford Harrold Archibald, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)