The AIF Project

John James VIAL

Regimental number1034
Place of birthSydney, New South Wales
SchoolCleveland Public School, New South Wales
ReligionChurch of England
AddressDeane Chambers, Rowe Street, Sydney, New South Wales
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation20
Height5' 10"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinMrs E Vial, 33 Rowe Street, Sydney, New South Wales
Previous military serviceServed for 3 years in the 25th Infantry, Citizen Military Forces.
Enlistment date14 September 1914
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name1st Battalion, D Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/18/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board Transport A19 Afric on 18 October 1914
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll1st Battalion
FateKilled in Action 3 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Ypres, Belgium
Age at death23
Age at death from cemetery records23
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial (Panel 7), 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: William Henry and Emily Lucy VIAL, 86 May Street, St Peters, Sydney. Native of Sydney
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 5 April 1915. Appointed Corporal, 20 June 1915. Wounded in action, 6-9 August 1915 (bullet wound, left hip); admitted to No. 3 General Hospital, Mudros, 9 August 1915; embarked for Malta, 28 August 1915; disembarked Malta, 31 August 1915, and admitted to Royal Naval Hospital; transferred to Riascoli, 6 September 1915; embarked for Egypt, 8 September 1915; reported at Overseas Base, Mustapha, 17 September 1915; proceeded to Gallipoli, 27 September 1915; rejoined Bn, 2 October 1915. Promoted Lance Sergeant, 7 November 1915; Sergeant, 14 December 1915. Disembarked Alexandria, 28 December 1915 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Found guilty of being asleep on duty, 3 January 1916: severely reprimanded. Admitted to No. 2 General Hospital, Ghezireh, 11 January 1916 (influenza/colic); discharged to Overseas Base, 21 January 1916. Admitted to No. 2 General Hospital, Ghezireh, 19 February 1916 (pneumonia); listed as dangerously ill, 24 February 1916; off danger list, 1 March 1916; transferred to No. 3 General Hospital, Abbassia, 27 February 1916; listed as dangerously ill (emphysema), Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 4 March 1916; off danger list, 13 March 1916; on danger list, 15 March 1916; off danger list, 6 April 1916. Embarked from Suez for Australia on board 'Karoola', 12 April 1916.

Returned to duty, 22 August 1916; embarked from Sydney on board HMAT A4 'Euripides', 9 September 1916, 1st Bn, 20th Reinforcement; disembarked Plymouth, 26 October 1916. Proceeded overseas to France, 13 December 1916; rejoined 1st Bn, 18 December 1916. Admitted to 45th Casualty Clearing Station, 25 January 1917 (appendicits); transferred to 11th Stationary Hospital, Rouen, 29 January 1917; to England, 11 February 1917, and admitted to 1st London General Hospital, 13 February 1917. Discharged to furlough, 7 March 1917; marched in to No. 2 Command Depot, 22 March 1917. Proceeded overseas to France, 25 June 1917; rejoined Bn, 1 July 1917.

Admitted to 53rd Casualty Clearing Station, 17 August 1917 (trench fever); transferred to No. 6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples, 24 August 1917; discharged to Base Depot, 28 August 1917; rejoined Bn, Belgium, 25 September 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 3 October 1917.

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

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