The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (4423) Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon, 28th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.309
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 4 November 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (4423) Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon, 28th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

4423 Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon, 28th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
DOW: 11 August 1918

Today we remember and pay tribute to Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon.

John Fallon was born in 1894 in Wagin, Western Australia, the son of Reginald and Agnes Fallon. Known as “Jack”, he attended school in the district and became a farm labourer and boundary rider.

In February 1916, Fallon volunteered to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force. He trained for a brief time in Australia before embarking on the transport ship Shropshire at Fremantle at the end of March. After arriving in England, he continued his training, and sailed for France in July 1916. There, he joined his unit, the 28th Australian Infantry Battalion.

Jack Fallon’s war experience was marked by sickness. In October 1916, he fell ill and was evacuated to hospital in England with pleurisy. During the winter months, he became severely ill with bronchitis, and he spent January and February recuperating. He returned to the 28th Battalion in March 1917, but in May had another stint in hospital in France.

Fallon was, however, showing promise as a soldier, and on returning to his unit he was promoted to the rank of lance corporal. When a superior was wounded in action, he was temporarily made corporal. At this time, the British commanders’ focus shifted away from the Somme River north to the Belgian town of Ypres.

The 28th Battalion took part in the fighting that became known as the Third Battle of Ypres in late 1917. During the successful capture of Broodseinde Ridge in early October, Fallon was wounded in action. He was evacuated to England to recover, and reverted to his rank of lance corporal.

While in England, he suffered further illness, including trench fever and influenza. He returned to his unit in July 1918. By this point, the momentum of a German offensive earlier in the year had waned, and the British, French and their allies had begun their own counter-attack. The Australian infantry units on the Western Front had been organised into the Australian Corps. In August 1918 this formation joined Canadian forces to form the spearhead of a British assault pushing out of the railway hub of Amiens in northern France.

On 11 August 1918, Fallon was in charge of a Lewis gun section at the front line near the village of Framvillers when he was hit by enemy machine-gun fire. He was taken to a nearby field ambulance, but died of his wounds shortly afterwards. He was 24 years old.

Fallon was initially buried near where he fell, but after the war, his remains were reburied at Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, along with more than 2,000 British and Dominion soldiers.

One of Fallon’s comrades from the 28th Battalion wrote to Reginald, Jack’s father, to inform him of his son’s death. He wrote: “Jack and I had been together quite a long time, and I felt it deeply when told that he had gone. It was almost like losing a brother.”

Jack’s older brother Vernon also served in the AIF, having joined the 16th Battalion in early 1916. In April 1917, his unit went into battle to capture the German-occupied village of Bullecourt. The attack was a disastrous failure for the British forces, and Vernon was one of nearly 1,200 Australians taken prisoner by the Germans. Vernon did not regain his freedom until the end of the war, arriving home in Western Australia in April 1919.

Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon 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 Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon, 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 (4423) Lance Corporal John Arthur Fallon, 28th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)