The AIF Project

Walter James BACKSHALL

Regimental number2880
Place of birthSaddleworth, South Australia
Marital statusMarried
Age at embarkation34.7
Height5' 9"
Weight155 lbs
Next of kinWife, Mrs Florence Malvinia May Backshall, 5 Rupert Street, Subiaco, Western Australia
Place of enlistmentPerth, Western Australia
Unit name48th Battalion, 7th Reinforcement
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A8 Argyllshire on 9 November 1916
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll48th Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularEnlisted 1 September 1916, and posted to 7th Reinforcements, 48th Bn. Taken on strength, 48th Bn, in the field, 19 April 1917. Appointed Lance Corporal, 4 September 1917.
FateKilled in Action 20 October 1917
Place of death or woundingPasschendaele, Belgium
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.

Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Widow (remarried): Mrs F.M.M. DEAVES
Other details

War service: Western Front

Medals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsNo embarkation Roll for 48th Bn, 7th Reinforcements.
SourcesNAA: B2455, BACKSHALL Walter James

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