The AIF Project

Urban Joseph TRUDGETT

Regimental number3437
Date of birth17 September 1893
Place of birthYoung, New South Wales
ReligionRoman Catholic
OccupationCarpenter
AddressYoung, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 7"
Weight146 lbs
Next of kinFather, J Trudgett, Morangarell, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date29 July 1915
Place of enlistmentCootamundra, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name2nd Battalion, 11th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/19/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on 2 November 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll53rd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 24 September 1917
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 29), 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
158
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Commemorated in Young Cemetery, New South Wales. Photo: Peter Dennis. Mother: Agnes Farquhar TRUDGETT (d. 15 June 1918, aged 50; bu. Young Cemetery, New South Wales)
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 53rd Bn, Tel el Kebir, 16 February 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 28 June 1916.

On Command, Runners' School, Fleurbaix, 21 September 1916; rejoined Bn from Runners' School, 2 October 1916.

Detached to duty with Brigade Relay Station, 18 January 1917; rejoined Bn from detachment, 19 January 1917.

Admitted to 5th Division Rest Station, 10 May 1917 (pyrexia, unknown origin); discharged to duty, 17 May 1917; rejoined Bn, 18 May 1917.

On leave to England, 27 June 1917; admitted to 25th General Hospital, England, while on leave, 29 June 1917; discharged to duty, 30 June 1917; rejoined Bn, in the field, from hospital and leave, 9 July 1917.

Killed in action, 24 September 1917.

Statement, Red Cross File No 2780707V, 3522 Lance Corporal C.C. MARTIN, Headquarters, 53rd Bn, 10 January 1918: 'He was at the door of a Pill box our side of Polygon Wood it was H.Qrs. Shell burst through the door and window killing Trudgett and buried him in the debris. I saw it and I helped fill the place up with trees etc. He came from N.S.W. and has relatives in Rozelle Sydney. Single man about 23 a carpenter. Was with him in H.Qrs. for 20 months.'

Second statement, 5448 Pte J.R. ROWLEY, Headquarters, 53rd Bn, 22 January 1918: 'His initials were D.J. and he was a HQ runner. He was killed at Battn HQ on September 24th or 25th while standing outside a pill box. I was a few yards from him and was buried by the same shell that killed him. He was blown to pieces. We could find no trace of his body though we searched for it. There could be no question of burial.'

Third statement, 4875 Pte SULLIVAN, Headquarters, 53rd Bn, 18 February 1918: 'I saw him killed by a shell, he was blown to pieces, nothing was ever found of him. This happened at Glencross Wood.'

Fourth statement, 2857 Pte W. HENDERSON, Headquarters, 53rd Bn (patient, 4th Australian General Hospital, Randwick, Sydney), 26 Gebruary 1918: 'Informant states that on 24/9/17 the Battalion was just outside Polygon Wood near Ypres holding the line and preparing to go over on the 26th. Trudgett and Informant belonged to the Headquarters Signallers, Trudgett being a runner. The Colonel sang out for everybody to get into a Pillbox near by, but the Pillbox being full Trudgett and a chum named Rowley had to remain outside. Rowley was buried but was dug out alive and wounded.'

Fifth statement, 2723 Pte R.A. GILLILAND, 53rd Bn, 28 February 1918: 'Was a Sig. at H. Qrts. We were at H. Qrts dug out on Sep. 24th, and a shell came over, and Trudgett was blown to pieces, and a runner was wounded. The shelling was heavy at the time and after they had finished shelling we went out to look for Trudgett's remains, but could not find any trace of him.'

Sixth statement, 3522 Lance Corporal C.C. MARTIN, 53rd Bn (patient, 4th Australian General Hospital, Randwick, Sydney), 22 August 1918: 'Informant states that they were both Headquarters Runners, of whom he (Informant) was in charge. On the night of 25.9.17 the Battalion was marching up to Polygon Wood to attack the next day. The whole of the Headquarters Staff was in a Pillbox near the Wood, about 2 miles from the attacking point. Informant was inside the Pillbox and Trudgett was standing in the Doorway talking to a chap named Rowley when a shell came in the door, knocked down Rowley without hurting him and killed Trudgett outright. Informant was only about 3 yards away and say the whole occurrence. Trudgett was buried just outside the Pillbox and Informant was present at the burial.'

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

War medals were awarded to his father, even though it transpired that Trudgett had an illegitimate daughter (b. 14 June 1915), who was adopted soon after birth. The adopted's mother stated, August 1920, that 'as she has adopted the child & wished to bring her up as her own, she would prefer to have nothing to do with the War Medals and decorations as she would later have to explain to the child that she was an illegitimate and she thinks that it would cause the child much worry.'
SourcesNAA: B2455, TRUDGETT Urban Joseph
Red Cross File No 2780707V

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