The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price DSO MC, 3rd Battalion, AIF, Major Philip Llewellyn Howell-Price DSO MC, 1st Battalion, AIF and Second Lieutenant Richmond Gordon Howell-Price MC, 1st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Places
Accession Number PAFU2015/414.01
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 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
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 Dennis Stockman, the story for this day was on Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price DSO MC, 3rd Battalion, AIF, Major Philip Llewellyn Howell-Price DSO MC, 1st Battalion, AIF and Second Lieutenant Richmond Gordon Howell-Price MC, 1st Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price DSO MC, 3rd Battalion, AIF
DOW 4 November 1916
Photograph: P00267.003

Major Philip Llewellyn Howell-Price DSO MC, 1st Battalion, AIF
KIA 4 October 1917
Photograph: C02052; P00267.004

Second Lieutenant Richmond Gordon Howell-Price MC, 1st Battalion, AIF
DOW 4 May 1917
Photograph: P00267.005

Story delivered 4 October 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to the three sons of the Reverend John Howell-Price and his wife, Isabel, who died serving Australia in the First World War.

John Howell-Price was a Welshman who came to Australia as a young man, married the Sydney-born Isabel Winchcombe, and served New South Wales as an Anglican clergyman. They had six sons, five of whom saw overseas service during the First World War. All five served with distinction. Three were killed in action.

Owen Glendower Howell-Price was John and Isabel’s third son, born on 23 February 1890 in Kiama, New South Wales. He had served with the citizen forces, and so on the outbreak of the First World War he applied for and secured a commission into the 3rd Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force.

Howell-Price was with his battalion for the Gallipoli landings, and during the attack on Lone Pine in August 1915 he displayed “conspicuous gallantry” and the “greatest bravery” in leading an attack
against the Turkish trenches. For his actions at Lone Pine Owen Howell-Price was awarded the Military Cross.

Known as “the gentlest of men and conscientious to a fault”, Howell-Price was made permanent commander of the 3rd Battalion in March 1916, making him one of Australia’s youngest senior officers at the time.

It was at Pozières that Howell-Price’s ability to command became most apparent. The 3rd Battalion was integral to the successful capture of the village on 23 July 1916, and at all times its commander showed a marked devotion to duty and to his men, and on at least one occasion remained in the front line despite being wounded.

However, his hands-on approach to battalion command would become his downfall. In early November 1916 the 3rd Battalion was taking part in an operation near the French village of Flers. While supervising the emplacement of machine-guns to cover the advance, Owen Howell-Price was shot in the head. He died of his wounds the following evening, on 4 November 1916.

Howell-Price was twice Mentioned in Despatches for his work on the Western Front, and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Order. In him the first Australian Imperial Force lost one of its most promising young commanding officers, a diligent and able man who demonstrated great ability in the technologically driven battlefields of the Great War.

Philip Lewellyn Howell-Price was John and Isabel’s fourth son, born on 11 September 1894 at Mount Wilson. He, too, had experience in the citizen forces, and on enlistment received the commission of second lieutenant. He would continue to gain regular promotion throughout his military career.

Howell-Price served with the 1st Battalion, and was with them when they landed on Gallipoli in April 1915. There he served with distinction and was twice commended for acts of conspicuous gallantry and valuable services during the early months on the peninsula.

Howell-Price was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions during the battle of Lone Pine in August 1915. Towards the end of this operation he was wounded in the back by a bomb. It took him nearly three months to recover, but he returned to Anzac Cove, staying until the evacuation.

Philip Howell-Price regularly demonstrated a capacity for military leadership and bravery that would see him decorated several more times. In 1916, shortly after arriving in France, he successfully led a raiding party of four officers and 60 men in one of his battalion’s first operations, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

He received the Military Cross later in 1916 for his leadership of a company of men in an operation near Flers. The following year he was shot through the thigh, but remained on duty despite his wound. His service was regularly noted as a “fine example of bravery, devotion to duty, and self-sacrifice”, and he was considered “an inspiration to his men”.

In October 1917 Philip Howell-Price was in the trenches with his battalion when he gave the order to move. At this point an artillery barrage began and a shell burst near the place he was last seen. His body was never recovered.

Richmond Gordon Howell-Price was the family’s youngest son, born on 18 July 1896 in Richmond. In December 1915 he left his job at the Coramba branch of the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force.

Richmond spent a year serving in the light horse, refusing promotion. He spent the first year mostly in training camps, before being transferred to the 1st Infantry Battalion and receiving a commission as a second lieutenant. He travelled to Egypt, and shortly afterwards went with his battalion to France to fight on the Western Front.

In April 1917 Richmond Howell-Price was a platoon commander in the 1st Battalion. His unit was assigned a role in an attack on the French village of Demicourt. Howell-Price demonstrated great ability as an infantry commander, deploying his men in a well-structured attack that materially assisted in the capture of the village. For this operation he was awarded the Military Cross. However, one month later, in the fighting at Bullecourt on 4 May 1917, he was wounded in action and later died of his wounds. He was just 21 years old.

The names of these three brothers are listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War. Their photographs are displayed 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 Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price, Major Philip Llewellyn Howell-Price and Second Lieutenant Richmond Gordon Howell-Price, and all those Australians who have given their lives in the service of our nation.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of Lieutenant Colonel Owen Glendower Howell-Price DSO MC, 3rd Battalion, AIF, Major Philip Llewellyn Howell-Price DSO MC, 1st Battalion, AIF and Second Lieutenant Richmond Gordon Howell-Price MC, 1st Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)