The AIF Project


Regimental number2521
Place of birthLaunceston, Tasmania
SchoolLaunceston Church Grammar School, Tasmania
Address24 Queen Street, Ballarat East, Victoria
Marital statusWidower
Age at embarkation38
Height5' 9"
Weight148 lbs
Next of kinSon, William B Shields, 24 Queen Street, Ballarat East, Victoria
Previous military serviceNil (On Attestation Form he stated: 'Served as a Wireless Guard on Flinders Island for 4 months.')
Enlistment date5 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name15th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/32/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A67 Orsova on 17 July 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll47th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 7 June 1917
Place of death or woundingMessines, Belgium
Age at death39
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: George and Mowat SHIELDS. Native of Launceston, Tasmania
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 31 October 1915; failed to entrain, 4 November 1915; proceeded to join the MEF, 13 November 1915. (No further details)

Transferred to 47th Bn, Tel el Kebir, 9 March 1916. Promoted Corporal, 14 March 1916.

.Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 2 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 9 June 1916. Appointed Lance Sergeant, 21 August 1916.

Admitted to 12th Field Ambulance, 24 August 1916 (debility); transferred to 1st Anzac Corps Rest Station, 28 August 1916; discharged to duty, 29 August 1916; rejoined Bn, 3 September 1916.Promoted Sergeant, 7 September 1916; Temporary Company Quartermaster Sergeant, 10 February 1917. Reverted to rank of Sergeant, 19 April 1917; to Private at own request, 24 April 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 7 June 1917.

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

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