The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3209) Private Edward Whitbread, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.125
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 5 May 2021
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (3209) Private Edward Whitbread, 10th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

3209 Private Edward Whitbread, 10th Battalion, AIF
DOW: 25 July 1916

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Edward Whitbread.

Edward Whitbread, known to friends and family as Tom, was born on 7 March 1887 in Kapunda, South Australia, the son of Alfred and Elizabeth Whitbread.

Having grown up at Bagot’s Gap and attended Bagot’s Gap Public School, by the time the First World War began, Whitbread was working as a farm labourer.

Edward Whitbread travelled to Adelaide, enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force on 8 June 1915. After his initial training he was allocated to reinforcements to the 10th Battalion, embarking from Outer Harbour, Adelaide on the transport ship Anchises on the 2nd of September.

After a brief stop in Egypt he was sent to join the 10th Battalion at Mudros, joining his unit in late November. By this time the Gallipoli campaign was drawing to a close and the battalion had been withdrawn.

The battalion returned to Egypt in December and over the next three months was able to rest, refit and train for war on the Western Front.

Whitbread embarked from Alexandria with the 10th Battalion on 27 March 1916, bound for France. After disembarking at Marseilles a week later, the battalion was sent to Strazeele in northern France for further training, before entering the front line at Fleurbaix at the beginning of June. In early July, the battalion was sent south to the Somme to join the British Somme Offensive.

On 23 July 1916, Whitbread saw action for the first time. During his battalion’s attack on the village of Pozieres he was severely wounded. Evacuated to the 44th Casualty Clearing Station, his wounds were found to be mortal. He died on the 25th of July, and was laid to rest in the Puchevillers Military Cemetery. He was 29 years old.

Further tragedy befell the Whitbread family when Edward’s younger brother Leslie was seriously wounded in early August as the 48th Battalion was defending Pozieres. Leslie was sent to England where he developed lobar pneumonia. This, combined with his wound, proved fatal, and he died on 8 September 1916 at the age of 24.

Edward Whitbread’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 Edward Whitbread, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section