The AIF Project

James George BIRDSALL

Regimental number1795
Place of birthDaylesford, Victoria
SchoolEganstown State School, Victoria
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationRubber mechanic
Address24 Brunning Street, Balaclava, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation31
Next of kinMother, Mrs Eleanor Birdsall, 24 Brunning Street, Balaclava, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date22 February 1916
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name38th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/55/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board RMS Orontes on 16 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll38th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 13 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death32
Age at death from cemetery records33
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 25), 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.

Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Eleanor Sophia and the late James George BIRDSALL. Native of Eganstown, Victoria
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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