The AIF Project

Henry Ernest WHETTAM

Regimental number723
Place of birthWeymouth, Dorset, England
ReligionChurch of England
AddressWentworth Street, Randwick, New South Wales
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation26
Height5' 6"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs H E Whettam, Caringa, Wentworth Street, Randwick, New South Wales
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date28 February 1915
Place of enlistmentLiverpool, New South Wales
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name17th Battalion, B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/34/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Sydney, New South Wales, on board HMAT A32 Themistocles on 12 May 1915
Regimental number from Nominal Roll4061
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll4th Field Company Engineers
FateKilled in Action 24 October 1917
Age at death from cemetery records28
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsThe Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, 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 Thomas and Annie WHETTAM; Wife: Constance E. WHETTAM, Carinya, Wentworth Street, Randwick, New South Wales
Family/military connectionsBrothers: 1227 Driver Eric WHETTAM, 6th Field Artillery Brigade, returned to Australia, 15 April 1918; 4439 Pte Sidney Joseph WHETTAM, 1st Pioneer Bn, returned to Australia, 15 January 1919; Lt Walter John WHETTAM MC, 4th Tunnelling Company, returned to Australia, 15 June 1918.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Embarked Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 3 September 1915.

Admitted to 3rd Field Ambulance, 14 September 1915, and then to 1st Australian Casualty Clearing Station (dysentery: mild); to Hospital Ship, 15 September 1915, and transferred to 3rd Auxiliary Hospital, Helipolis, 19 September 1915; to Ras el Tin Convalescent Home, Alexandria, 28 September 1915; discharged to Base, 15 November 1915.

Admitted to 2nd Australian General Hospital, Ghezireh, 30 December 1915 (influenza); discharged to duty, 26 January 1916; rejoined unit, Tel el Kebir, 27 January 1916.

Appointed Lance Corporal, 16 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 1 June 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 9 June 1916.

Promoted Temporary 2nd Corporal, 8 August 1916.

Promoted Substantive 2nd Corporal, 28 November 1916.

On leave in United Kingdom (date of commencement not recorded).

Admitted to 1st Australian Dermatological Hospital, Bulford, while on leave, 3 January 1917; discharged, 13 February 1917; total period of treatment for venereal disease: 42 days.

Marched in to No 1 Command Depot, 14 February 1917.

Proceeded overseas to France, 8 April 1917; rejoined unit, in the field, 19 April 1917.

Killed in action, Belgium, 24 October 1917.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsSecond given name incorrectly recorded on Embarkation Roll as Emmett.
SourcesNAA: B2455, WHETTAM Henry Ernest

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