The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (191) Sapper Fred Reynolds, 1st Field Company, Australian Engineers, First World War

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli
Accession Number PAFU2015/333.01
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 3 August 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 Meredith Duncan, the story for this day was on (191) Sapper Fred Reynolds, 1st Field Company, Australian Engineers, First World War.

Speech transcript

191 Sapper Fred Reynolds, 1st Field Company, Australian Engineers
KIA 25 April 1915
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 3 August 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Sapper Fred Reynolds.

Frederick Austin Reynolds was born in Wellington, New Zealand, but grew up in Sydney. As a teenager he served a three-year apprenticeship with Moody & Company to become an electrical engineer. He was a lifesaver at the Seagull Club at South Steyne, and was known to have saved several lives during his time there.

Reynolds had been working for the Royal Engineers as an electrical engineer at the Submarine Mining Station, Chowder Bay, for two years when the First World War began. His wage as a single, educated man was an important part of his parents’ income; nevertheless, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force within weeks of the outbreak of war, and was sent for active service overseas.

Reynolds was posted to the 1st Field Company of the Australian Engineers. After a period of training in Egypt the unit was sent to participate in the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. The company was divided into three parts, with the infantry landing in the boats before dawn. At 4.27 am the first shots were fired, and three minutes later the landing began for the men of the Field Company Engineers. They came under heavy fire the entire time.

As they were landing, enemy fire began to hit the men in the boats. Sapper Reynolds risked his life to rescue three of these men, one at a time. He went back to the landing boat a fourth time, apparently to get back to a machine-gun, but as he reached the beach he was wounded and died. His crumpled body is visible lying on the beach in a famous photograph of Anzac Cove, taken later that day and currently held in the Memorial’s collection. He was one of the earliest casualties of the Gallipoli campaign.

Reynolds’ body was recovered and buried in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery. He was Mentioned in Despatches for his gallantry in saving three men at the landings. Fellow engineer Osborne Earle wrote to Reynolds’ parents:
don’t worry about us, we’re alright. If we’ve got to die, we’ll do it willingly, and to see the way fellows throw their lives away – well, it makes anyone feel proud of them.

Fred Reynolds was 21 years old. His 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 Sapper Fred Reynolds, and all of those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

Sources:
1st Company Field Engineers War Diary, April 1915, Australian War Memorial: AWM 4/14/20/8.

National Archives of Australia, service record, Fred Reynolds.

“At the Dardanelles”, Cobargo Chronicle, 30 July 1915, p. 4.

“Men of the Dardanelles: Sapper Reynolds”, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 1915, p. 6.

“Mentioned in Despatches: heroes of the Dardanelles”, Queenslander, 14 August 1915, p. 10.

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (191) Sapper Fred Reynolds, 1st Field Company, Australian Engineers, First World War (video)