The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2864) Private Arthur Ambrose Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF and (2863) Sergeant George Banks Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number AWM2020.1.1.311
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 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 (2864) Private Arthur Ambrose Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF and (2863) Sergeant George Banks Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

2863 Sergeant George Banks Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 20 August 1916

2864 Private Arthur Ambrose Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF
KIA 26 February 1917

Today we remember and pay tribute to brothers Private George Banks Mossom and Private Arthur Ambrose Mossom.

George Mossom was born in 1890 in Ballarat, Victoria, the son of Frank and Emma Mossom. His brother Arthur was born in 1892. The boys were born somewhere in the middle of Frank and Emma’s large family, which moved to Queensland when George and Arthur were young. Frank Mossom worked as a boiler maker, first at the Phoenix Foundry, and later for the railway workshops. He was a member of the Independent Order of Rechabites, a temperance organisation, which George would later join. The family belonged to the Brisbane-street Congregational Church, and a number of George and Arthur’s brothers would retain close ties to the church.

George and Arthur Mossom were educated at the Boys Central State School in Ipswich. George then undertook a five-year apprenticeship with Shilliton & Sons in Ipswich to become an engine fitter. Arthur went on to work on the Roma Downs cattle station as a station hand.

Arthur and his older brother George enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in June 1915. The pair were posted to reinforcements to the 9th Battalion and left Australia for active service overseas in September 1915 on board the troopship Ayrshire. They were first sent to Egypt, where evacuated troops from Gallipoli continued training in the desert for the first few months of 1916. From Egypt, the brothers were sent to France to fight on the Western Front.

The 9th Battalion fought its first battle in France on 23 July 1916, when they fought to capture the French village of Pozieres. Although the operation was a success, the 9th Battalion met considerable resistance and struggled to advance. Some days later, after finally advancing into the village, the battalion was relieved. By this time both the Mossoms were part of the 9th Battalion’s machine-gun section. A friend of theirs from Ipswich wrote to friends in Queensland, noting that “both the Mossoms… wish me to tell you they are still going strong.”

On 20 August the 9th Battalion entered the front line near Pozieres for the second time. The battlefield was so torn up that they could only relieve the 4th Battalion during daylight hours, proceeding out in the open in several places because communication trenches had been blown flat. Throughout the day the battalion suffered the odd casualty, usually the result of artillery fire.

On 20 August 1916, Sergeant George Mossom was killed in action. Although the exact manner of his death is unrecorded, it was almost certainly the result of the artillery fire the battalion encountered on the destroyed battlefield.
Private Arthur Mossom remained with the 9th Battalion as it rotated in and out of the front line during the bitterly cold winter of 1916 and 1917. Early the following year the battalion was in the front line near the French village of Bazentin le Petit. The Germans had retreated to the Hindenburg Line and the Australians were following their retreat. On 26 February two patrols advanced trying to establish the location of the Germans and also to build advance strongpoints in no man’s land.

The 9th Battalion suffered more than 75 casualties during the advance following the enemy’s retreat. Among those killed was Private Arthur Mossom. Like his brother, the manner of his death has not been recorded, but in his case it was most likely at the hands of the active snipers and machine-gunners trying to stop the patrols of the 9th Battalion as they advanced into no man’s land.

Neither of the brothers’ bodies were recovered from the battlefield, and to this day they have no known grave. Instead, the brothers are listed one after the other on Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux. Arthur was 24 years old, his brother George 26.

Their names are 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 George Banks Mossom and his brother, Private Arthur Ambrose Mossom, who gave their lives 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 (2864) Private Arthur Ambrose Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF and (2863) Sergeant George Banks Mossom, 9th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)