The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (162) Private Arthur Joshua Stevenson Caldwell, 21st Battalion (Infantry), First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/035.01
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 4 February 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
Description

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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (162) Private Arthur Joshua Stevenson Caldwell, 21st Battalion (Infantry), First World War.

Speech transcript

162 Private Arthur Joshua Stevenson Caldwell, 21st Battalion
KIA 13 March 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 4 February 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Arthur Joshua Stevenson Caldwell.

Arthur Caldwell was born in Kamarooka, near Bendigo, Victoria, the son of local farmers John Thomas and Agnes Amy Caldwell. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1915 at the age of 24 and was sent to Egypt, where he initially served in the Light Horse but transferred to the 21st Infantry Battalion in early 1916. He was sent to England with them for further training, and then went on to fight on the Western Front in France and Belgium.

Caldwell was a good soldier, and was described as a man who was "always there on his job, and he did his duty well, acting right through in a cheery and brave manner". He remained with the 21st Battalion throughout the war. In March 1917 the battalion was holding the line near the French village of Warlencourt. Caldwell's company had just moved out of the forward positions they had captured the night before, and were waiting behind the lines to be relieved. Not more than an hour into the wait, a shell landed in the middle of his group, wounding one man very badly and killing Arthur Caldwell immediately. His mate Walter Middleton Whitehead, who had been with him since his days in the Light Horse, was with him when he was killed, and assured Arthur's mother that her son "did not feel the least pain for it was so quick". Whitehead supervised the burial of Caldwell in the hole created by the shell that killed him. It was by necessity a hasty burial, as the company continued to be under heavy shell-fire. That hurried grave was later lost in the confusion of the war, and Arthur Caldwell's final resting place is unknown.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 others from the First World War, and he is commemorated on the Memorial to the Missing at Villers-Bretonneux in France. 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 Arthur Joshua Stevenson Caldwell, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

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