The AIF Project

John William Arthur SMITH

Regimental number5427
Place of birthMount Morgan, Queensland
SchoolState School, Queensland
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
AddressMarmor, North Coast Line, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinMother, Mrs E J Smith, Marmor, North Coast Line, Queensland
Enlistment date25 January 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name9th Battalion, 17th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/26/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT SS Hawkes Bay on 20 April 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll9th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 6263852
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Date of death4 November 1917
Age at death25.4
Age at death from cemetery records25
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
57
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and Emma SMITH, Fern Dale, San Jose, Marmor, Queensland
Family/military connectionsUncle: 7292 Pte Peter Jacob Christopher PEUT MM, 15th Bn, died of wounds, 31 March 1918.
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

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