The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3316) Private Arthur Roy Ford, 20 Battalion, First World War

Accession Number PAFU2014/043.01
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 12 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

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 , the story for this day was on (3316) Private Arthur Roy Ford, 20 Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

3316 Private Arthur Roy Ford, 20th Battalion
KIA 5 May 1916
Photograph: H06632

Story delivered 12 February 2014

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Arthur Roy Ford, who was killed in action fighting in France on 5 May 1916.

Arthur Ford was a schoolteacher at Brolgan Public School near Parkes, New South Wales, before he enlisted in the AIF at Warwick Farm in Sydney in September 1915. He left Australia as a member of the 3rd Battalion just days before Christmas, destined for Egypt and the fighting on Gallipoli. His three years' experience as an instructor to the local cadets was recognised by his superiors and Ford was given the temporary rank of corporal for the duration of the voyage.

By the time Arthur Ford had arrived in Egypt, however, allied forces had withdrawn from the Gallipoli peninsula. The following months for both the troops who had withdrawn from the peninsula and reinforcements like Ford who continued to arrive were spent training in the hot sands of Egypt. In January 1916 the AIF effectively doubled in size and many of the reinforcements were sent to newly raised units destined for the fighting in France. Arthur Ford was transferred to the 20th Battalion, which had served on Gallipoli and would be one of the first Australian units to leave Egypt in March 1916 to participate in the fighting on the Western Front.

The 20th Battalion was the first Australian unit to come face-to-face with the Germans on the Western Front. On the night of 5 May 1916, German troops conducted a trench raid on the Australian positions in the Bridoux Salient outside the town of Armentières. For several hours they shelled the Australian trenches before assaulting the position. Australian casualties were heavy, with 23 men of the 20th Battalion killed in the attack, 72 wounded and 13 missing in action. One of those killed was Arthur Ford, who was 22 years old when he died. He was buried at the nearby Brewery Orchard Cemetery at Bois Grenier, where he rests today.

Arthur Ford is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with around more than 60,000 others from the First World War. His is but one of the many stories of courage and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial, and his photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

We now remember Private Arthur Ford, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in service of our nation.

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