The Last Post
A ceremony of love, loss and remembrance at the Australian War Memorial
By Emma Campbell
Published by New South
RRP $29.99 in hardback • ISBN 9781742235783
My father, a returned serviceman from the Second World War, was not one given to showing a lot of emotion except on occasions when the ‘Last Post’ was being played. The last post is the bugle call that signifies the end of the day’s activities. The Last Post Ceremony is now conducted daily at 4.55pm at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. It is a ceremony full of emotion and Emma Campbell has captured the essence of this in her beautifully illustrated book.
It was AWM Director Brendan Nelson who, after attending the Last Post Ceremony at the Menin Gate in Belgium, introduced the ceremony to the Memorial in April 2013 with the story of Robert Poate who died in Afghanistan at the age of 23.
There are some 102,800 servicemen and women whose names are listed on the Australian War Memorial’s Roll of Honour. Campbell has chosen thirty of their stories which she feels represent the stories of these brave men and women.
In launching this book former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull chose to relay the story of 21 year old Private Richard Warne who had survived the Great War only to die tragically when he jumped off the night train as it slowed to pass through his station at the small Queensland village of Owanyilla. The man who came to lend assistance to the dying man turned out to be his father. A truly tragic story.