The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (908) Private Roy Marr Bernays, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Asia: Turkey, Canakkale Province, Gallipoli Peninsula, Lone Pine Memorial
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.79
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 19 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 Tristan Rallings, the story for this day was on (908) Private Roy Marr Bernays, 3rd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

908 Private Roy Marr Bernays, 3rd Battalion, AIF
KIA 27 April 1915
Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Roy Marr Bernays.

Roy Marr Bernays was born on 13 October 1890, the second of three sons born to Charles and Lilian Bernays of the Brisbane suburb of Kangaroo Point, Brisbane. Bernays was born into a prominent Queensland family; his grandfather was an important administrator and public servant of the colony (and later state) of Queensland. His father also worked in government, and served as assistant and sergeant-of-arms of the Legislative Assembly. His older brother Claude served as deputy commissioner of the British Solomon Islands, but died there in 1911 from disease. As a result of his family’s close connection with the Queensland government, Bernays grew up in a cottage on the grounds of Parliament House in the centre of Brisbane.

Roy Bernays attended Brisbane Grammar School, where he served in the cadets, and later worked as a clerk at the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, where he was said to be a “valued young officer”.

Bernays enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 28 August 1914, not long after the outbreak of the First World War. He was among the first troops to enlist and serve for Australia, and soon began training with the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the 1st Brigade.

His younger brother also served in the First World War. Geoffrey Bernays served in the British Army, was wounded at Vimy Ridge on the Western Front, and later served in Greece in the Salonica campaign. His distinguished service saw him reach the rank of major, and he was later granted a Member of the Order of the British Empire and a Grecian Order of the Redeemer.

Less than two months after enlisting, Roy Bernays sailed with the 3rd Battalion from Sydney to Egypt for further training.

On 25 April 1915, Bernays and the 3rd Battalion were among the first Australian troops to land on Gallipoli. They were with the second and third waves to troops to land at about 5.30 in the morning under heavy enemy fire, and spent the next few days in almost continuous action on the steep cliffs and ridges that surround what is now known as Anzac Cove.

Soon after landing, Bernays and the 3rd Battalion successfully captured a high ridge held by Turkish troops, and occupied the trench defence systems. For the next four days the exhausted troops saw off a series of Turkish counter-attacks and suffered terribly from constant and accurate Turkish shrapnel artillery fire.

On 27 April 1915, two days after the initial Anzac landings on Gallipoli, Bernays was killed in the trenches, likely as a result of a shrapnel barrage.

He was 25 years old.

In the chaos of the fighting in those early days of the Gallipoli campaign, the exact whereabouts of his body was lost, and his name is recorded on the Lone Pine Memorial, which commemorates more than 4,900 Australians and New Zealanders who have no known grave.

Private Roy Marr Bernays’ 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 Roy Marr Bernays, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

David Sutton
Historian, Military History Section

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