The AIF Project

Stewart Hessel George McKERN

Regimental number16217
Place of birthSydney New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressSydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinMother, Mrs Mary McKern, 17 Redan Street, Mosman, sydney, New South Wales
Previous military service17th Infantry
Enlistment date1 May 1916
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll7 April 1916
Rank on enlistmentSapper
Unit nameNovember 1916 Reinforcements
AWM Embarkation Roll number14/42/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A29 Suevic on 11 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollSapper
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Field Company Engineers
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

'Conspicuous bravery and fine example in carrying out rescue work.' (Near Ypres 19 September 1917)
Recommendation date: 3 October 1917

FateDied of wounds 4 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records22
Place of burialNo known grave
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: James and Mary MCKERN, 17 Redan Street, Mosman, New South Wales.

Military Medal

'On the 19th September in LEINSTER trench near ZOUAVE WOOD, the enemy subjected the vicinity to heavy and accurate fire. The section was ordered too leave their work and get under cover. As McKERN was on the point of doing so a large shell buried 2 infantry men of the party. Without hesitation he commenced to work and was instrumental in extricating one man alive and oly ceased work when assured that the other man was beyond aid, and notwithstanding the fact that two men who were assisting hem were wounded by subsequent shells. His example on this occasion and also while at work on strong points in POLYGON WOOD on 21st September, was worthy of great commendation.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 31
Date: 7 March 1918

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