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1000th Last Post at Pukeahu

The 1000th daily Last Post ceremony marking the First World War centenary will be held at Pukeahu National War Memorial at 5.00pm on Thursday 18 January and members of the public are welcome to attend. 

1000th Last Post ceremony at the Pukeahu National War Memorial Park on 18 January 2018.

To mark the occasion the stories of five servicemen, Rifleman Horatio Beechey, Private Ernest Cook, Private Ernest Sharman, Captain Charles Ward and Rifleman Harold Winwood who died on this day 100 years ago will be read.

Hon Grant Robertson, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage and MP for Wellington Central will attend along with representative from the New Zealand Defence Force and the RSA. 

The daily Last Post ceremony honours all New Zealand servicemen and women who lost their lives in times of war. With the first to mark the centenary held on Anzac Day 2015 the ceremonies will continue until this year’s Armistice Day on 11 November.

Held each evening in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior the public are invited to participate in the Last Post ceremony by reading the Ode of Remembrance or playing the bugle. The service lasting about 10 minutes includes lowering the two New Zealand flags, playing the Last Post, the observation of one minute’s silence and the Ode of Remembrance in Māori and English.

Anyone interested in participating in the ceremony is invited to apply by filling in details on the Manatū Taonga website at: http://mch.govt.nz/last-post

Details of the men to be honoured:

Horatio Beechey, a forestry worker from Auckland, was a rifleman with the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade. He was an underage soldier and only 18 years old when he enlisted in 1915. He had pretended to be 20 – the minimum age for recruits – in order to join the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. After almost two years fighting on the Western Front, Beechey was killed in action on the 18th of January 1918. He is one of at least 35 New Zealanders buried at Oxford Road Cemetery, in Ieper, Belgium.

Ernest Cook, an Anglican minister from Northland, was a private with the New Zealand Medical Corps. He enlisted in August 1916 and served on the Western Front with a field ambulance, treating those injured in battle. On the 18th of January 1918 he was killed in action. He was 26 years old. Cook is buried at The Huts Cemetery, near Ieper, Belgium. His grave lies alongside that of his fellow New Zealander, Ernest Sharman.

Ernest Sharman, originally from Somerset, England was working as a travelling salesman in Nelson when he enlisted in September 1915. He became a private with the New Zealand Medical Corps and served on the Western Front with a field ambulance, treating those injured in battle. He was killed in action on the 18th of January 1918 aged 27 years old. Sharman is buried next to his fellow New Zealander, Ernest Cook, at The Huts Cemetery, near Ieper, Belgium.

Charles Ward, a dentist from Wellington, was a captain in the New Zealand Dental Corps. He enlisted at the outbreak of war and served throughout until the 18th of January 1918 when he disappeared from the hospital where he was a patient. His hat and letters to his wife noting his intention to commit suicide were later found next to a riverbank. He was officially classified as missing and is remembered on a memorial panel at the Walton-on-Thames Cemetery in England. He was 33 years old.

Harold Winwood, originally from Tasmania, was working as a ploughman in Methven when he enlisted in June 1916. He became a rifleman in the 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade and served with the brigade on the Western Front. On the 18th of January 1918 he was killed in action, aged 26 years old. Winwood is one of at least 160 New Zealanders buried at Buttes New British Cemetery in Belgium.


Updated on 25th January 2018