The AIF Project


Regimental number4712
Place of birthGlasgow, Scotland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationSteel worker
Address4 Frith Street, East Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation33
Height5' 5.5"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Mary Lilian Girvan, 4 Frith Street, East Brunswick, Melbourne, Victoria
Enlistment date9 February 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll26 January 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name22nd Battalion, 12th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/39/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 4 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll22nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 9 October 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), Belgium

The Menin Gate Memorial (so named because the road led to the town of Menin) was constructed on the site of a gateway in the eastern walls of the old Flemish town of Ypres, Belgium, where hundreds of thousands of allied troops passed on their way to the front, the Ypres salient, the site from April 1915 to the end of the war of some of the fiercest fighting of the war.

The Memorial was conceived as a monument to the 350,000 men of the British Empire who fought in the campaign. Inside the arch, on tablets of Portland stone, are inscribed the names of 56,000 men, including 6,178 Australians, who served in the Ypres campaign and who have no known grave.

The opening of the Menin Gate Memorial on 24 July 1927 so moved the Australian artist Will Longstaff that he painted 'The Menin Gate at Midnight', which portrays a ghostly army of the dead marching past the Menin Gate. The painting now hangs in the Australian War Memorial, Canberra, at the entrance of which are two medieval stone lions presented to the Memorial by the City of Ypres in 1936.

Since the 1930s, with the brief interval of the German occupation in the Second World War, the City of Ypres has conducted a ceremony at the Memorial at dusk each evening to commemorate those who died in the Ypres campaign.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
Other details

War service: Western Front

Proceeded overseas to France, 16 September 1916; taken on strength, 22nd Bn, in the field, 5 October 1916.

Admitted to 11th Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 12 November 1916 (trench feet); transferred to England, 14 November 1916, and admitted to Beaufort War Hospital, Bristol, 25 November 1916 ; transferred to 3rd Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Dartford, 29 November 1916; discharged on furlough, 15 December 1916, march into No 1 Command Depot, Perham Downs, 23 December 1916.

Proceeded overseas to France, 14 February 1917;rejoined Bn, in the field, 23 March 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 9 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, GIRVAN John

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