The AIF Project


Regimental number2824
Place of birthMildura, Victoria
AddressSubiaco, Rydalmere, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Next of kinFather, Syd J A Towns, Subiaco, Rydalmere, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date11 August 1915
Date of enlistment from Nominal Roll4 August 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, 6th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll17th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 20 September 1917
Age at death from cemetery records23
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
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: John Aymer and Mary Ann TOWNS, Guildford Road, Guildford, New South Wales. Native of Mildura, Victoria
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 17th Bn, 5 February 1916. Found guilty of being absent without leave, 2-7 pm, 27 February 1916: awarded confinement to barracks for 3 days and forfeiture of 1 day's pay.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 17 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 23 March 1916.

Wounded in action, 26 July 1916 (gun shot wound, back); admitted to 3rd Casualty Clearing Station, 5 August 1916; transferred to 23rd General Hospital, Etaples, 6 August 1916; discharged to 2nd Australian Division Base Depot, 29 August 1916; rejoined Bn, Belgium, 21 September 1916.

To hospital, 28 January 1917; rejoined Bn, 29 January 1917. To hospital, 1 May 1917 (influenza); rejoined Bn, 13 May 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 20 September 1917.

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

Print format    

© The AIF Project 2024, UNSW Canberra. Not to be reproduced without permission.