The AIF Project

Ellis Austin William SMITH

Regimental number1862
Place of birthPerth, Western Australia
SchoolClaremont and Cottesloe State Schools, Western Australia
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationWool classer
Addresscorner of Ottaway and Franklin Streets, Claremont, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height6' 1.5"
Weight173 lbs
Next of kinFather, W J Smith, corner of Ottaway and Franklin Streets, Claremont, Western Australia
Previous military serviceServed in Compulsory Naval Training and Artillery (37th Battery, Australian Field Artillery, still serving at time of AIF enlistment).
Enlistment date17 August 1914
Rank on enlistmentGunner
Unit nameField Artillery Brigade 3, Battery 8
AWM Embarkation Roll number13/31/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board Transport A7 Medic on 2 November 1914
Rank from Nominal Roll2nd Lieutenant
Unit from Nominal Roll28th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Place of death or woundingFrance
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 23), 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
114
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Adelaide SMITH, Otway and Franklin Streets, Claremont, Western Australia
Family/military connectionsCousins: 5350 Pte Bevil Bernard James EDWARDS, 28th Bn, killed in action, 2 March 1917; Pte F BROWN, killed in action, 26 October 1917 in France [cannot be further identified; date of death possibly wrong].
Other details

War service: embarked from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 4 April 1915. Wounded in action, 3 May 1915 (shoulder); transferred from 17th General Hospital, 13 June 1915; transferred to hospital ship and embarked for Lemnos, 20 June 1915. Embarked for England , 18 September 1915; admitted to 5th London General Hospital (St Thomas), 26 September 1915. Admitted to Overseas Base, Ghezerih, Egypt, from England, 5 March 1916.

Embarked for overseas (England), 11 May 1916. Promoted Corporal, 15 June 1916; Temporary Sergeant, 1 October 1916; Staff Sergeant, 15 December 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 14 April 1917; taken on strength, 28th Bn, 19 April 1917.

Commissioned as 2nd Lt, 16 May 1917. Admitted to 47th Casualty Clearing Station, 31 May 1917 (pyrexia, unknown origin); rejoined Bn, 10 June 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917. Killed in enemy shell fire in the attack on Polygon Wood; buried on the spot.

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

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