Canberra pays its respects at Last Post ceremony

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), LSIS James McDougall (photographer)

Location(s): Canberra, ACT

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), Last Post Ceremony

Members of HMAS Canberra's ship's company line the Pool of Reflection during the Last Post Ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.  (photo: LSIS James McDougall)
Members of HMAS Canberra's ship's company line the Pool of Reflection during the Last Post Ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.

An 80-member-strong delegation of HMAS Canberra’s ship’s company were among the guests at the Australian War Memorial’s Last Post ceremony on Friday.

Three-hundred-and-fifty members of the 400 sailors, soldiers and airmen in the ship’s company were in Canberra, preparing to exercise the warship’s Freedom of Entry in a march through the city on Saturday.

Command Warrant Officer of HMAS Canberra, Warrant Officer Tim Badger said attending the last post ceremony was an important reminder of the sacrifices made by service men and women, and a chance to experience this great memorial.

Every evening at 1700, the Australian War Memorial conducts the ceremony to honour former service personnel.

Friday’s reading attended by Canberra was to honour Victoria Cross recipient Sergeant Lewis McGee, whose relatives were in attendance.

As a sergeant in the 40th Battalion Australian Imperial Force, McGee was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the Battle of Broodseinde - part of the Passchendaele offensive - on 12 October 1917.

The Last Post Ceremony was started by the Director of the Australian War Memorial, Dr Brendan Nelson, in 2013, after he visited Ypres, Belgium, where a similar ceremony was held regularly to commemorate the memories of the British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the First and Second World Wars.

Now, at the end of each day, as the War Memorial begins to close its doors, its guests gather in the cloisters for the ceremony.

Canberra’s visit to the Australian War Memorial was one of a number of activities the ship’s company was involved in in the warship’s namesake city.

Following the march, the ship’s company attended a reception at the National Convention Centre, hosted by the Chief Minister of the ACT and the Chief Executive Officer of the Canberra Business Chambers.