The AIF Project

John Alexander WATT

Regimental number3235
Place of birthSouth Yarra, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationPlumber
AddressGnowangerup, Western Australia
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation39
Height5' 3"
Weight140 lbs
Next of kinFriend, James Craig, Hall Street, North Fremantle, Western Australia
Previous military serviceNil
Enlistment date31 October 1916
Place of enlistmentBlackboy Hill, Western Australia
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name48th Battalion, 8th Reinforcement
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Fremantle, Western Australia, on board HMAT A35 Berrima on 23 December 1916
FateKilled in Action 12 October 1917
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.

Other detailsMedals: British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsName does not appear on Embarkation Roll.
SourcesNAA: B2455, WATT John Alexander

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