The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Major Thomas James Frizell, 1st Australian Field Ambulance, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.42
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 11 February 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 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 Sharon bown, the story for this day was on Major Thomas James Frizell, 1st Australian Field Ambulance, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

Major Thomas James Frizell, 1st Australian Field Ambulance, AIF
DOW 2 December 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to Major Thomas James Frizell.

Thomas Frizell was born in 1889 at Roebourne, Western Australia, the eldest son of Thomas and Annie Frizell. His father was a doctor working in Roeburn and Cossack, but when Thomas was a young boy, his father took the family to Sydney where he began a practice in Strathfield. He died in 1909, when Thomas was 20 years old. Thomas junior was educated at Sydney Grammar School, and went on to Sydney University to study medicine. He worked as a resident medical officer at the Sydney Hospital for two years, and had nine months’ experience at the Coast Hospital.

Thomas Frizell probably enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in early 1915, although his records do not give an exact date. He left Australia for active service overseas in June of that year, and spent several months on the Gallipoli peninsula. He remained on Gallipoli until the evacuation in late December. He spent several more months in Egypt, where the AIF was undergoing a period of reorganisation and expansion, and was sent to France with the 5th Australian Field Ambulance in late March 1916.

From his arrival on the Western Front, Thomas Frizell served in several different field ambulance units and hospitals behind the lines. On a number of occasions he was detached to various battalions and pioneer battalions, serving in dangerous situations. He largely remained in France, either on the English Channel getting wounded men ready for the voyage to England, or immediately behind the lines, for most of 1916 and 1917, with just two periods of leave.

The British offensive of the second half of 1917 was known as the Third Battle of Ypres, or Passchendaele. The Australians participated in a number of key operations during the campaign, notably at Menin Road, Polygon Wood and Broodseinde. During the vicious fighting along the Broodseinde Ridge, Major Frizell was with the 1st Australian Field Ambulance based in Westhoek. This Belgian village was on the evacuation route for wounded from the battle, and eventually functioned as an advanced dressing station. It was close enough to the front line to come under fire, and with only slight shelter available, a number of casualties occurred.

One of those wounded was Major Thomas Frizell. Wounded in the right leg, left arm, and abdomen, he was evacuated with the wounded he had been treating shortly before. He reached the English Channel within a few days, but his condition worsened and he could not withstand the voyage to an English hospital. Suffering from septicaemia, Major Thomas James Frizell died on 2 December 1917. One of his brothers, who was serving with the Australian infantry, was able to be with him when he died, and attended the funeral shortly afterwards. Today Major Thomas Frizell lies in the Mont Huon Military Cemetery at Le Treport. He was 28 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 Major Thomas James Frizell, 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 Major Thomas James Frizell, 1st Australian Field Ambulance, AIF, First World War. (video)