The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX51675) Lance Corporal Andrew Daniel Dreghorn, 2nd/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.204
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 22 July 2020
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Thomas Rodgers, the story for this day was on (NX51675) Lance Corporal Andrew Daniel Dreghorn, 2nd/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War.

Speech transcript

NX51675 Lance Corporal Andrew Daniel Dreghorn, 2nd/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, 2nd AIF
DOW: 31 October 1942

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal Andrew Daniel Dreghorn.

Andrew Dreghorn was born on 5 June 1911 in the Sydney suburb of Alexandria, the son of Andrew and Mary Ellen Dreghorn. He attended school locally before becoming a despatch clerk. In 1940, he married Eleanor May White.
In July of that year, Dreghorn enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He completed initial training in Australia, and then worked at a training camp in Dubbo for several months. In July 1941, he embarked from Sydney, bound for the Middle East. Having shown promise as a soldier, he was promoted to the rank of lance corporal on arrival in the Middle East.

Dreghorn continued his training near Alexandria in Egypt. His unit, the 2/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, was among the defenders of the Libyan port city of Tobruk. The Australians defending Tobruk were relieved by British forces in October 1941, and in November, Dreghorn was able to join his unit.

During the first half of 1942, the 2/17th Battalion moved to Syria and Lebanon to continue training. In July, the battalion returned to Alexandria in Egypt, and from there deployed west of the city in readiness for a showdown with the Axis forces.

The British-led Allies defended a line between the Mediterranean Sea in the north and the impassable Qattara Depression in the desert to the south. Allied units took up positions around the tiny desert locality of El Alamein. The 9th Australian Division, of which the 2/17th Battalion was a member, was on the right flank of the Allied position, on the coast.

In October 1942, preparation began in earnest for an Allied attack. The men of the 2/17th Battalion trained alongside tanks and anti-tank guns, so that they knew how to work together on the battlefield. There was still time for recreation, though, and the men played cricket and held a surfing carnival.

In late October 1942, the Allies launched what became known as the Second Battle of El Alamein. After a supporting artillery barrage, the men of the 2/17th Battalion crossed a minefield strung with barbed wire to engage the German positions.

During the fighting the following day, 24 October 1942, Dreghorn was shot in the arm and abdomen and severely wounded. He was evacuated to a casualty clearing station, where medical staff noted that his condition was critical. On 31 October, he died of his wounds.

He was 31 years old.

Andrew Dreghorn was originally buried in a small British military cemetery, but with the end of the war, many of the Allied graves were consolidated. Dreghorn’s remains were reburied at El Alamein War Cemetery in Egypt, along with over 7,000 Commonwealth burials from the Western Desert campaign. His inscription reads: “Only till He come”.

Dreghorn was survived in Australia by his widow, Eleanor. Two of his younger brothers also served in the armed forces during the Second World War. Private Jack Dreghorn served in the Army, working in training camps in Australia. Leading Aircraftman Archie Dreghorn served in the Royal Australian Air Force, and was discharged in 1946.

Andrew Daniel Dreghorn’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, among almost 40,000 Australians who died while serving in the Second World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Lance Corporal Andrew Daniel Dreghorn, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Thomas Rogers
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX51675) Lance Corporal Andrew Daniel Dreghorn, 2nd/17th Australian Infantry Battalion, 2nd AIF, Second World War. (video)