The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (3761) Private John Edward Tucker, 45th Battalion, First World War

Place Europe: France, Picardie, Somme, Amiens Harbonnieres Area, Harbonnieres
Accession Number PAFU2015/004.01
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 January 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
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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (3761) Private John Edward Tucker, 45th Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

3761 Private John Edward Tucker, 45th Battalion
KIA 17 August 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 4 January 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private John Edward Tucker, who died during the First World War.

Born in September 1898 at Alectown near Parkes in New South Wales, John Tucker, or Jack, as he was fondly known, was the eldest son to parents John and Minnie. Jack grew up in Coolah, where his father ran the police station. Jack attended the local public school, and was working as a station hand when he enlisted in the AIF in February 1917.

Jack was assigned to the 10th reinforcements to the 45th Battalion. He left Sydney in May 1917 on the transport ship Marathon and, after a period of training in England, was sent to France in October. He was taken on strength of his battalion in November but soon fell ill, and was admitted to hospital in England in December suffering from nephritis.

Jack stayed in England for several months to recuperate and participate in extra training. He returned to France in April 1918 and re-joined his battalion just as it was recovering from the fighting around Dernancourt, a village on the River Ancre in France.

Several months later, in early August 1918, the allies launched a major offensive against the Germans. Australian forces, including the 45th Battalion, were involved in the fighting near Amiens.

The series of attacks at Amiens were an overwhelming success for the allies and dealt a decisive blow to the Germans. German general Erich Ludendorff called it “the black day of the German Army”.

After the main battle troops of the 45th Battalion were able to rest, bathe, and eat a warm meal. But localised fighting continued and the 45th was soon back in action.

Jack was killed during the 45th Battalion’s time in the front lines at Harbonnières on 17 August 1918. The exact particulars of his death are not known, but at least one witness said that Jack was killed by a sniper. He was 19 years old.

Jack was buried close to the battlefield, but after the war his grave was relocated to Fouquescourt British Cemetery, where he rests today.

His death was reported in his local newspaper back in Australia. It was said that the news “cast quite a gloom over the town”. The paper also published extracts from letters of sympathy the Tucker family received from the officers of the 45th Battalion. They described Jack as “a true friend and a brave soldier” who had “won his way into the affections of all the men in the company.”

John Tucker’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, along with the names of more than 60,000 other Australians who died fighting in 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 John Edward Tucker, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Emma Campbell
Writer, Military History Section

Kate Ariotti
Historian, Military History Section

Sources:
Service Record: NAA B2455 TUCKER JOHN EDWARD

Roll of Honour Circular: http://static.awm.gov.au/images/collection/pdf/RCDIG1068842--107-.PDF

45th Battalion War Diary for August 1918: AWM4 23/62/30

“Letter of Sympathy”, Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative, 7 November 1918

“Another Coolah Hero”, Mudgee Guardian and North-Western Representative, 12 September 1918

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website: http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/616619/TUCKER,%20JOHN%20EDWARD

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