The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (151) Private Augustus John Elliott, 22nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Accession Number AWM2022.1.1.25
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 25 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 Craig Berelle, the story for this day was on (151) Private Augustus John Elliott, 22nd Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Film order form
Speech transcript

151 Private Augustus John Elliott, 22nd Battalion, AIF
Killed in Action 18 September 1915

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Augustus John Elliott.

Augustus Elliott was born in Newport, South Wales, on 20 December 1875. He came to Australia with his parents at the age of seven, settling in Adelaide. He was educated at the Hindmarsh public school and went on to become a tailor. After serving his apprenticeship with in Adelaide, Augustus went to Sydney, where he worked for seven years before returning to Adelaide.

Augustus had made friends with a girl named Edith Roberts on the voyage from the United Kingdom to Australia when he was a child, and they remained friends as their families settled in Adelaide. Their friendship blossomed into romance, and on 25 November 1899 the two were married in North Adelaide by the Reverend Thomas Hope. They settled in Mead Street, Largs Bay, and would go on to have two children, a daughter, Eunice, and a son, Gwynne.

Augustus Elliott enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force at Melbourne in February 1915. He was posted to the newly formed 22nd Battalion, and, after completing his initial training in Australia, left for active service overseas in May 1915.

The 22nd Battalion was first sent to Egypt, where it continued training in the desert. It did not deploy to Gallipoli until early September 1915, taking over portions of the front line from the 2nd Brigade. By the time the 22nd Battalion had arrived on Gallipoli the major offensives were over, and its role was largely defensive as the decision was made to evacuate.

Nevertheless the Gallipoli peninsula remained a very dangerous place to be. On 18 September, a day of no particular note according to the 22nd Battalion’s war diary, the men of the 22nd Battalion came under an enemy artillery bombardment. At some point during the bombardment, Private Augustus Elliot was struck and killed.

Edith Elliott received a number of letters in Adelaide from men serving at the front in relation to her husband’s death. Lieutenant J.C. McCall wrote “expressing sorrow at the loss of so fine a soldier.” Chaplain Thomas Bennett, who was not far from Elliott when he was killed, wrote “we all who knew him valued him for his sterling good, manly qualities, and his mates feel their loss severely. It was my sad duty to bury him to-night in Shrapnel Gully Cemetery, with others who to-day gave up their lives fighting for their King and country. They died as heroes die, these dear fellows. One’s heart almost breaks with the sadness of it all. May God bless, comfort and strengthen you in your hour of sorrow is my earnest prayer.”

Today Augustus Elliott’s remains lie buried in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery with no epitaph. He was 39 years old.

His 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 Augustus John Elliott, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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