The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (5897) Gunner Thomas Stevenson, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.66
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 6 March 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (5897) Gunner Thomas Stevenson, 1st Field Artillery Brigade, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

5897 Gunner Thomas Stevenson, 1st Field Artillery Brigade
DOD 16 December 1915

Today we remember and pay tribute to Gunner Thomas Stevenson.

Thomas Stevenson was born in 1888, the youngest of 12 children born to Thomas and Margaret Stevenson of Boorowa in the New South Wales Southern Slopes. The Stevensons were a well-known pioneering family. Thomas attended King’s College in Goulburn, where he took a keen interest in tennis, cricket, and golf. Afterwards, he managed the family grazing station “Narra Allen” with his older brother Harry, following the death of their father in 1913.

Stevenson enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Victoria Barracks in Sydney in October 1915. After a period of training at Sydney Showground, he embarked with a reinforcement group for the 1st Field Artillery Brigade in November, bound for the training camps in Egypt. By the time he arrived, the Gallipoli campaign was coming to an end, and the following months would be spent reorganising the AIF before its departure for the Western Front.

Stevenson was transferred to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade Ammunition Column as part of this reorganisation in December 1915, but after just two days with his new unit, he was admitted to the 1st Australian General Hospital at Heliopolis. He was suffering from an illness that medical staff believed had been contracted on the troopship to Egypt. Just two days later, he died. Aged 28 at the time of his death, he was buried at the Cairo War Cemetery, where he rests today.

The historical records do not tell us how Tom’s death affected the Stevenson family, so we can only imagine their shock at losing him to just two months after he enlisted. The following tribute to Stevenson appeared in the local newspaper after news of his death reached the Boorowa community: “He was greatly admired by all who knew him.”
Thomas Stevenson 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 Gunner Thomas Stevenson, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Aaron Pegram
Historian, Military History Section

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