The AIF Project

John Henry SEARLE

Regimental number1414
Place of birthNorwood, South Australia
ReligionChurch of England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation30
Height5' 4"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinSister, Mrs Selby, Moorabbin, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date2 November 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name5th Battalion, 2nd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/22/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A46 Clan Macgillivray on 2 February 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll1346
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll5th Battalion
Recommendations (Medals and Awards)

Mention in Despatches

Awarded, and promulgated, 'London Gazette', second Supplement, No. 29890 (2 January 1917); 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 103 (29 June 1917).

FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
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

Military Medal

'At POZIERES, FRANCE, 14th. to 20th. August 1916, Private SEARLE on several occasions went out in front of working parties and brought in wounded men. On several other occasions when Trench O.G.1 was being continuously bombarded and men were buried in it he did a tremendous amount of work digging men out and undoubtedly saved several men's lives. In addition to above he carried food and ammunition to forward firing line during an intense enemy bombardment.'
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 62
Date: 19 April 1917

Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915.

Found guilty, 11 July 1915, of conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline, i.e. throwing the contents of a Urine Pot over the parapet of a fire trench, 6 July 1915: awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No. 2.

Admitted to 3rd Australian Field Ambulance, 5 August 1915 (gastro-enteritis); transferred to Fleet Sweeper, and admitted to 1st Australian Stationary Hospital, Lemnos, 6 August 1915 (influenza). Found guilty, 20 September 1915, of being drunk in camp: fined 2/6- and awarded 2 days confined to camp. Rejoined Bn at Gallipoli, 23 August 1915. Disembarked Alexandria ex Lemnos, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Taken on strength, 46th Bn, 31 March 1916. Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Abbassia, 2 April 1916; discharged, 18 April 1916. Total period of treatment for venereal disease: 18 days.

Embarked from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 9 May 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 17 May 1916. Taken on strength, 5th Bn, 17 June 1916.

Found guilty, 26 June 1916, of being absent without leave, 1830, 24 June, to 1000, 25 June 1916: awarded 3 days' Field Punishment No. 2 and forfeiture of 2 days' pay. Found guilty, 21 July 1916, of being absent from Tattoo Roll Call, 2100-2115, 18 July 1916: awarded 1 day's Field Punishment No. 2. Found guilty, 16 September 1916, of while on active service being absent from Tattoo Roll Call, 2100, 12 September, to 1545, 13 September: awarded 7 days' Field Punishment No. 2 and forfeiture of 9 days' pay.

Awarded the Military Medal for bravery in the field, 4 October 1916.

Admitted to 5th Australian Field Ambulance, 6 December 1916 (septic heel); to 1st Australian General Hospital, Rouen, 25 December 1916; to No. 2 Convalescent Depot, 26 December 1916; to 1st Stationary Hospital, 27 December 1916; to 51st General Hospital, Etaples, 29 December 1916; discharged to Base Depot, 25 January 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 30 days.

Mentioned in Despatches, 13 November 1916.

Rejoined unit, 8 March 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917.

Medals: Military Medal, 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal

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