The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (1379) Private Ferdinando Mottarelli, 7th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles, Gallipoli, Cape Helles Area, Krithia
Accession Number PAFU2015/454.01
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 November 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 Richard Cruise, the story for this day was on (1379) Private Ferdinando Mottarelli, 7th Battalion, AIF, First World War.

Speech transcript

1379 Private Ferdinando Mottarelli, 7th Battalion, AIF
KIA 8 May 1915
No photograph in collection – family supplied

Story delivered 4 November 2015

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Ferdinando Mottarelli.

Ferdinando Mottarelli was born in 1881 in Albosaggia, Italy, to Pietro and Maddalena Mottarelli. He attended the local school, and went on to become an important wage-earner for his family. He had also spent some time in the Italian army. He migrated to Australia at the age of 23, and soon became known as “Fred”. Shortly after his arrival Mottarelli went to Rutherglen in Victoria, where he worked for three years on the Mount Ophir vineyards. He later lived in Broken Hill before moving to Bendigo, where he intended to set up his own business.

Fred Mottarelli enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in November 1914, and was posted to the second reinforcements to the 7th Battalion. After a short period of training in Australia he left for overseas service, going first to Egypt for more training, and then to the Gallipoli peninsula.

Little is known of Mottarelli’s individual experience on Gallipoli. The 7th Battalion rowed ashore at Anzac Cove in the early hours of 25 April 1915. Many came under heavy rifle-fire and took up a position under cover along the edge of the beach. They later became mixed in with units from other battalions over the course of the day. It took several days to sort out the muddle and establish the battalion’s position at the head of Happy Valley.

After several days of digging and improving trenches, the 7th Battalion was withdrawn and sent to Cape Helles, where they arrived on 6 May. Two days later the battalion was drawn into the second battle of Krithia. Given just half an hour’s warning, the battalion attacked German positions under heavy fire, and then dug in under cover of darkness. The brigade suffered enormous casualties during the action, with as many as a third of its men becoming casualties. The 7th Battalion reported 250 casualties the following morning. Private Fred Mottarelli was one of those missing after the operation.

Little is known of Mottarelli’s fate. A court of inquiry held in August 1915 determined that he had been killed in action in the attack of 8 May at Krithia, but his body was never recovered. Today he is
commemorated on the Helles Memorial on the tip of the Gallipoli peninsula. He was 34 years old.

He is also commemorated here, where his name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First 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 Private Ferdinando Mottarelli, 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 (1379) Private Ferdinando Mottarelli, 7th Battalion, AIF, First World War. (video)