The AIF Project

Spencer PARKES

Regimental number2220
Place of birthHanley, Staffordshire, England
ReligionChurch of England
AddressWentworthville, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation39
Next of kinWife, Mrs Alice Maud Parkes, Wentworthville, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date8 March 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name45th Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/62/3
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A18 Wiltshire on 22 August 1916
Rank from Nominal RollCorporal
Unit from Nominal Roll45th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 13 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records40
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 27), 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: Ebenezer and Matilda PARKES; husband of Alice PARKES, 'Hillview', Dumaresq Street, Gordon, New South Wales. Native of Hanley, Staffs., England
Family/military connectionsBrother: 188 Pte Sydney Ernest PARKES, 6th Light Horse Regiment, killed in action, 24 May 1915.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Embarked from Sydney, 22 August 1916; disembarked Plymouth, England, 13 October 1916. Marched in to 12th Training Bn Camp, 18 November 1918. Obtained 1st Class qualification and passed as having fair knowledge of Lewis Gun at 6th Rifle Course, Tidworth, 3-25 January 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 18 September 1917; taken on strength, 45th Bn, 30 September 1917. Appointed Corporal, 24 January 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 13 October 1917.

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format    

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.