The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1553) Private Allen William Hirschausen, 10th Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2013/068.01
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 09 October 2013
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

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 Nicholas Schmidt, the story for this day was on (1553) Private Allen William Hirschausen, 10th Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

1553 Private Allen William Hirschausen, 10th Battalion
KIA 15 April 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 9 October 2013

Today, we remember and pay tribute to Private Allen William Hirschausen.

Willie Hirschausen was born in Burra, South Australia, but moved to Broken Hill while he was still a boy. He was working at the south mine with his father when the First World War began, and left his job there to enlist in November 1914. He was just 18 years old when he enlisted with the 10th Battalion and went to Gallipoli. Seven months later his father, Adolph Hirschausen, enlisted at the age of 39; another five months after that Sidney, Will's brother, reached the age of 18 and joined up as well. After the evacuation of Gallipoli, the Australian Imperial Force was moved to France to fight on the Western Front.

In April 1917 the 10th Battalion was in support of the front line near Louverval when there was a heavy enemy counter-attack. Companies of the 10th were hurriedly ordered forward to support the front line troops. The attack was repulsed, and some of the German line captured. Willie Hirschausen was sitting with two mates in a captured German position, chatting about his father, when a shell blew the side of the trench in on them. Two of the men pulled themselves out, but it took them an hour to free Hirschausen, by which time he had been smothered to death.

Adolph Hirschausen suffered from poor health, and while Willie was chatting about him in the front line Adolph was on the SS Beltana returning to Australia to recover from a severe kidney infection. He died less than six months later from a combination of Bright's disease, shell shock and rheumatism.

Elizabeth Hirschausen, wife of Adolph and mother of Willie and Sidney, had one son return from the war. Sid served the 27th Battalion with distinction, coming home with the Military Medal and living to an old age. But Elizabeth always considered that the Great War cost her the lives of two men in her family. She never remarried.

Will Hirschausen's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Allen William Hirschausen, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1553) Private Allen William Hirschausen, 10th Battalion (Infantry), First World War (video)