The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1957) Private Ernest Arthur Newton, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Bapaume Cambrai Area, Noreuil
Accession Number PAFU2015/437.01
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 27 October 2015
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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (1957) Private Ernest Arthur Newton, 50th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1957 Private Ernest Arthur Newton, 50th Battalion, AIF
KIA 2 April 1917
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 27 October 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Ernest Arthur Newton.

Ernest Newton was the youngest son of Henry and Sarah Newton, born in Happy Valley, South Australia, in 1895. His mother died two years later, shortly after the birth of Ernest’s younger sister, Eva. Henry Newton took his family to Broken Hill, where he worked as a baker. Ernest attended the North Broken Hill School and also St Peter’s Sunday School. He went on to assist his father in his business. In 1912 Henry Newton married his first wife’s sister, Mary Ann Edgley, who became Ernest’s stepmother as well as his aunt. Ernest Newton was a respected young man and was reported to have a happy disposition.

Newton enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in January 1916 at the age of 20. After a period of training in South Australia he was sent for overseas service with the 3rd reinforcements to the 50th Battalion. He arrived at Plymouth, England, in September 1916, and joined his battalion in the field in France the following December.

On the morning of 2 April 1917 the 50th Battalion was ordered to assault the fortified village of Noreuil, near the Hindenburg Line. The Australians encountered heavy opposition, and the attack quickly broke down. The 50th Battalion, with support from reserve troops, finally managed to secure its objectives, but success came at heavy cost. At the end of the battle 96 men were counted as having been killed. A further 90 were reported missing, of which a significant number were later found killed. One of the dead was Private Ernest Newton.

The exact manner of his death has not been recorded. He was buried in a hastily constructed cemetery nearby. This cemetery was later destroyed by shell-fire, and Newton’s grave destroyed. He is now commemorated on a special memorial at the Noreuil Australian Cemetery in France. He was 21 years old.

Private Newton’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with more than 60,000 Australians who died during 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 Ernest Arthur Newton, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the
service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

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