The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (2586) Private Frederick John Carpenter, 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2021.1.1.178
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 27 June 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 Joanne Smedley, the story for this day was on (2586) Private Frederick John Carpenter, 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF, First World War.

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Speech transcript

2586 Private Frederick John Carpenter, 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF
KIA: 22–27 July 1916

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Frederick John Carpenter.

Frederick Carpenter was born in Melbourne in February 1885 to Frederick and Elizabeth Carpenter. At some point the family moved to New South Wales, where “Fred”, as he was known to friends and family, found work as a gardener.

At the age of 20, but giving his age as 21, Carpenter joined the Royal Navy. After serving on two British ships stationed in Australian waters, HMS Pioneer and HMS Challenger, he left the navy in 1912.

In July 1915, Carpenter enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Liverpool in New South Wales. He trained for three months before sailing to Egypt in November, where he continued his training in the Australian army camps. Soon after his arrival in Egypt, Carpenter contracted mumps, and spent a short time in hospital recovering.

By the end of the year, the British and allied forces had withdrawn from the Gallipoli peninsula, and the AIF was being reorganised and preparing to move to the Western Front.

In February 1916, Carpenter joined his unit, the 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion. The unit arrived in France at the end of March, and travelled by train from the southern port city of Marseilles to the north of the country, near the Belgian border. Known as the “nursery sector”, the men trained in the methods of trench warfare in an area that was less active than other sectors of the Western Front.

In mid-July, the 3rd Battalion moved south to the Somme sector, near the French city of Albert. Their objective was the village of Pozieres and the ridge line of relatively high ground behind it. Just before midnight on 22 July, the men of the 3rd Battalion moved into position, attacking Pozieres the next morning. All objectives were captured, but over the following days, the Germans maintained a heavy artillery fire on the ground the Australians had taken. By 27 July, the 3rd Battalion had lost nearly half of its men as casualties, dead, wounded, or missing.

Carpenter was among the lost. His comrades later recalled that he had been killed by a shell and buried in a trench. When the battalion was relieved of its duty on 27 July, the precise place of his burial was unknown. It was not until November that Australian military authorities officially declared him killed in action. He was 31 years old.

Fred Carpenter’s name is inscribed on the Australian National Memorial at Villers-Bretonneux in France which lists the names of over 10,000 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave.

Carpenter was survived in Australia by his father, his sisters Ivy and Edith, and his brother Alfred.

Private Frederick John Carpenter 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 Frederick John Carpenter, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Thomas Rogers
Historian, Military History Section

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