The AIF Project

William Alexander SURAWSKI

Regimental number5910
Place of birthFassifern, Queensland
SchoolSpring Creek State School, Queensland
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationFarmer
AddressFairview, Clifton, Queensland
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation23
Next of kinFather, Franz Surawski, Fairview, Clifton, Queensland
Previous military serviceServed in the Light Horse.
Enlistment date18 July 1916
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name26th Battalion, 16th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/43/4
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A36 Boonah on 21 October 1916
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll26th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 1 November 1917
Place of death or woundingMenin Road, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death23.9
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
109
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: Franz and Matilda SURAWSKI, 'Fairview', Clifton, Queensland
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal

Print format