The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1939) Private Frank Franklin, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2022.1.1.20
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell, Australian War Memorial
Date made 20 January 2022
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC

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 Sharon Bown, the story for this day was on (1939) Private Frank Franklin, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

1939 Private Frank Franklin, 14th Battalion, AIF
KIA: 27 August 1915

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Frank Franklin.

Frank Franklin was born in 1893, the third of five children born to William and Emma Franklin of Milltown, near Heywood, in the south-west of Victoria. Franklin attended the local school at Mount Eckersley, and later worked as an engine driver. He also received training for farm work, and was a member of the local Heywood Rifle Club.

Franklin enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 20 January 1915, and soon began training with the reinforcements of the 14th Infantry Battalion, part of the 4th Brigade of the 4th Division. Franklin’s brother Benjamin enlisted two days later and later served in the 13th Australian Light Horse Regiment, winning a military medal while serving on the Western Front in France in 1918.

After a brief period of training, Private Frank Franklin sailed for Egypt, and in June 1915 joined the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, bound for Gallipoli.

Franklin was on Gallipoli for less than a month before being evacuated to Egypt suffering from dysentery, he would not rejoin his unit until mid-August.

Just days after he returned to Gallipoli, Franklin took part in the Australian, Indian, New Zealand and British attempt to seize an area of high ground known as Hill 60. The attack on Hill 60 was intended to expand the territory held by the allies near Anzac Cove and protect freshly landed British forces at nearby Suvla Bay.

The first attack, which began on 21 August, managed to gain part of the hill, but not the well-defended high ground. A second attack the next day by the Australian 5th Brigade also failed with terrible casualties.

The final attempt to take Hill 60 began on the afternoon of 27 August and lasted for three days. Australian, British and New Zealand troops fought in a costly, confused and indecisive battle and suffered terrible casualties.

Franklin was one of 104 men of the severely depleted 14th Battalion who took part in the initial attack of 27 August. Only 30 would return to camp the following day.

Franklin was with those men as they made their way towards forward positions to make the main advance, but was shot through the head and killed instantly as he moved through a communication trench. His body was placed on the parapet of the trench to allow the rest of the men to get through, and in the chaos of the subsequent battle, his final resting place was lost.

He was 22 years old.

He was originally reported missing in action, and it was not until April 1916 that his family received confirmation that he was officially recorded as killed in action.

With no known grave, today his name is listed on the Lone Pine Memorial on Gallipoli, which commemorates more than 4,900 Australian and New Zealand servicemen who have no known grave.

Private Frank Franklin’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 Frank Franklin, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

David Sutton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1939) Private Frank Franklin, 14th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)