The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1038) Private Russell George Bosisto, 27 Battalion, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/005.01
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 5 January 2014
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 Charis May, the story for this day was on (1038) Private Russell George Bosisto, 27 Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

1038, Private Russell George Bosisto, 27th Battalion, AIF
KIA 4 August 1916
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 5 January 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Russell George Bosisto.

Bosisto was born on 18 April 1897 to Ernest and Annie Bosisto, in Hindmarsh, South Australia. He grew up in the Medindie area and as a young man took up a baker's apprenticeship after leaving school. He was working as a baker when the First World War began.

Bosisto enlisted for service in the AIF under the assumed name "George Russell" in March 1915 at Keswick Barracks. After one month's training he joined A Company, of the 27th Battalion, and changed his enlisted name back to his original name at the end of April. He embarked for Egypt from Outer Harbour aboard the transport ship Geelong on 31 May.

The 27th Battalion landed on Gallipoli in September 1915 and Bosisto served on the peninsula until the Australians were evacuated in December. After a brief return to Egypt, the battalion then sailed for France and the Western Front. After a brief period in the line in the Nursery Sector, the battalion then headed for the Somme.

Bosisto, in one of his last letters, wrote to his father that France was much worse than Gallipoli. He said that his unit couldn't get forward and that retreat was not an option. He also asked his father not to read the letter to the rest of the family and to prepare them for what might happen.

On 4 August, during the 27th's attack on the Windmill at Pozières, the battalion was caught in a German artillery barrage. Bosisto was killed by a shell blast and his body was unable to be recovered. Following the war, he was commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial.

In January 1998 a French farmer who was ploughing near the former Windmill came across the intact body of an Australian soldier. His equipment was largely complete; the rifle still had its bayonet with a hooked quillon and there was ammunition still in the magazine, with one round "up the spout". Most importantly, the body had a set of private-purchase dog tags which had been engraved with the soldier's details: Private Russell George Bosisto's body had been located. Following a positive identification, he was laid to rest in the Courcellette Cemetery in July 1998. He was attended by an honour guard from the 10/27th Battalion, Royal South Australia Regiment, and four surviving First World War Diggers.

Bosisto's name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with around 60,000 others from the First World War. There is no photograph in the collection to display beside the Pool of Reflection.

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

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