The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (965) Private Percy William Venning, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Asia: Turkey, Canakkale Province, Gallipoli Peninsula, Lone Pine Memorial
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.69
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 9 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 Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

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 Tristan Rallings, the story for this day was on (965) Private Percy William Venning, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

965 Private Percy William Venning, 10th Battalion, AIF
DOW 28 April 1915

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Percy William Venning.

Percy Venning was born on 4 October 1894 to William and Margaret Venning of Quorn, South Australia. After some time spent in the Quorn and Wilmington districts of South Australia’s mid-north, the Venning family moved to Pinnaroo, where William continued farming. At the time, the town of Pinnaroo was flourishing as a result of the new railway line, and Percy was the first scholar to be enrolled at the school built in 1906. He became an active member of the local rifle club, as well as the Methodist church’s Sunday School and its young men’s class. Percy Venning was described as “a quiet unassuming lad”, and worked on his father’s farm after finishing his education.

Percy enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force shortly after the outbreak of war in 1914. He was posted to the 10th Battalion and, after a period of training in Australia, left for active service overseas, arriving in Egypt in early December 1914. There Private Venning continued training in the desert with his battalion until April the following year, when they were sent to Gallipoli.

In the early hours of 25 April 1915, men of the 10th Battalion rowed silently towards the Turkish shore at what would become known as Anzac Cove. The war diary of the battalion records that “no sound was heard, except the splash of the oars; we thought that our landing was to be effected quite unopposed, but when our boats were within about 30 yards of the beach a rifle was fired from the hill in front of us above the beach, right in front of where we were heading for. Almost immediately heavy rifle and machine-gun fire was opened up on us.” The men finished rowing to the shore and dashed for the cliffs at the back of the beach.

For several days the 10th Battalion was heavily involved in establishing and defending a precarious front line on the heights above Anzac Cove. Not long after the landing, Private Venning was in a dangerous forward position with a group of men who were running short of water. Volunteers were called for to make an attempt to go and get some. Venning volunteered to make the dash across an open plateau, but as he ran he was hit by a sniper’s bullet and badly wounded.

Somehow Percy was brought in by his mates and taken to the beach, where he was put on a ship bound for Egypt. His wounds were too serious, however, and on 28 April 1915 he died on board HMT Galeka and was buried at sea.
Percy Venning is commemorated on a stone tablet in the school at Pinnaroo where he was the first student enrolled. The town remembered him as “a general favourite” who “died as he had lived – a true, noble, heroic and Christian man”. He is also commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial on the Gallipoli peninsula. He was 20 years old.

Percy Venning’s 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 Percy William Venning, 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 (965) Private Percy William Venning, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)