The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (NX97716) Lance Corporal Douglas Keith Sidney, 2/4th Independent Company, Second World War

Place Oceania: New Guinea, Papua New Guinea, Papua, Milne Bay
Accession Number PAFU2015/302.01
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 July 2015
Access Open
Conflict Second World War, 1939-1945
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 Jana Johnson, the story for this day was on (NX97716) Lance Corporal Douglas Keith Sidney, 2/4th Independent Company, Second World War.

Speech transcript

NX97716 Lance Corporal Douglas Keith Sidney, 2/4th Independent Company
KIA 13 September 1943
No photograph in collection; image supplied by family

Story delivered 12 July 2015

Today we remember Lance Corporal Douglas Keith Sidney, who was killed in action in 1943, while serving in New Guinea during the Second World War.

Known as “Keith”, Sidney was born on 10 August 1923 in Waratah, a north-western suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales. He was the only son of Robert and Nina Sidney. Robert Sidney was a returned man of the Great War, having served with the light horse on Gallipoli in 1915 and in Palestine in 1918. Several of Keith’s uncles had also served in the First World War.

Sidney attended Newcastle East Public School and Newcastle Boys’ High School, and went on to be employed by New South Wales Railways as a bread carter at Port Waratah. He was also an active member of Nobby’s Surf Club, and during the summer of 1941–42 he held the junior and senior club championships in surf and belt competitions.

In August 1942 Sidney enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. After a period of training with units in New South Wales, in May 1943 he was posted to the 2/4th Independent Company, where he was promoted to lance corporal in July.

In August the company sailed from Townsville for Milne Bay, Papua, where it would come under command of the 9th Division for the imminent invasion of Lae in New Guinea. Lae was a major Japanese base, and its capture was undertaken as part of a major Allied offensive.

The company came ashore on the 4th of September in an amphibious landing to the east at Red Beach, and quickly became involved in heavy fighting to secure the Kunda Bridge across the Busu River. On 13 September, the company’s B Platoon was trying to cross the bridge amid fierce Japanese fire. During this time Lance Corporal Sidney was killed. He was 20 years old.

Five other members of the company died that day. Lae fell to Australian troops a few days later.

Sidney is buried in Lae War Cemetery, New Guinea. His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along with some 40,000 Australians who died in the Second World War. His photograph is displayed today beside the Pool of Reflection.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Lance Corporal Douglas Keith Sidney and all of those Australians who gave their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Karl James
Historian, Military History Section

National Archives of Australia, service record, Douglas Keith Sidney.

“Killed in action”, Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 16 October 1943.

George Ernest Lambert, Commando, from Tidal River to Tarakan: the story of the No. 4 Australian Independent Company AIF, 1941–45, 2nd/4th Commando Association, Melbourne, 1994.

Further information supplied by the family.

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