The AIF Project

Richard Benjamin HILLS

Regimental number949
Place of birthWest Wallsend, New South Wales
SchoolBondi Superior Public School, New South Wales
Other trainingTechnical High School, Sydney, New South Wales
ReligionMethodist
OccupationJournalist
Address193 Edgecliffe Road, Woollahra, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation18
Next of kinMother, Mrs H Hills, same address
Enlistment date2 March 1917
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit nameAnzac Cyclist Battalion, Reinforcement 12
AWM Embarkation Roll number12/1/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 14 June 1917
Rank from Nominal RollSapper
Unit from Nominal Roll12th Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 7 February 1918
Place of death or woundingZillebeke, near Ypres, Belgium
Age at death17.7
Age at death from cemetery records17
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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
24
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Harriett HILLS, 193 Edgecliff Road, Woollahra, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsCousin: [3752] 2nd Lt David Henry AVARD MC, 19th Bn, killed in action, 3 May 1917; Trooper G. WRIGHT, killed in action.

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