The AIF Project

Henry Alexander BLACK

Regimental number4155
Place of birthForbes New South Wales
SchoolPublic School, Forbes, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressKalgoorlie, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation36
Next of kinMother, Mrs J Black, North Hill, Forbes, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 12 months in the Boer War.
Enlistment date24 September 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name11th Battalion, 13th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/28/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A30 Borda on 17 January 1916
Rank from Nominal RollSergeant
Unit from Nominal Roll11th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Military Medal

Conspicuous coolness and courage on many occasions, resulting in valuable services being rendered.
Recommendation date: 10 March 1917

Distinguished Conduct Medal

Great personal courage and fine example to men in rendering exceptionally rescue work.(Bullecourt 6 May 1917).
Recommendation date: 14 May 1917

FateKilled in Action 31 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death35
Age at death from cemetery records35
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 17), 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: Alexander and Janet BLACK, North Hill, Forbes, New South Wales

Distinguished Conduct Medal

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He was in charge of a post in the front line. Owing to heavy shelling a number of men became burried. He showed great courage and determination in rescuing them and digging them out. Although he himself was buried whilst doing this he was rescued and continued with his task. He succeeded in rescuing ten men under heavy shell fire.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 219
Date: 20 December 1917

Military Medal

'During the night of 26th/27th February, 1917 at LE BARQUE, Cpl. BLACK carried out some excellent patrol work to the right of LE BARQUE. The following morning he assisted in locating three enemy machine guns to the left of THILLOY. He showed conspicuous ability in the attack on THILLOY and in assisting to reorganise the men after the village was taken. Throughout, his coolness inspired confidence in those about him.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 140
Date: 27 August 1917

Family/military connectionsBrother: 2593 Pte Roy George BLACK, 20th Bn, returned to Australia, 24 June 1916.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: Distinguished Conduct Medal, Military Medal, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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